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Planning a trip to Canada? Here's everything you need to know

Canada requires a PCR test taken within 72 hours
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Posted at 11:11 PM, Aug 08, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-08 23:11:04-04

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — The Canadian border reopens to Americans on Monday but now you have to meet certain COVID-19 testing requirements.

“You need a very specific type of test to enter into Canada, and that type of test is a nucleic acid test,” Dr. Thomas Russo from the UB Jacobs School of Medicine said.

Dr. Russo said those tests, commonly known as PCRs, are more sensitive.

“And obviously the Canadian government has first and foremost in their mind to minimize the number of individuals who could enter their country that are infected,” Dr. Russo said.

Only Americans who have been fully vaccinated for at least 14 days can enter the country. Canada accepts Pfizer, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca proof of vaccination. But you also have to get tested. Dr. Russo said the Pfizer vaccine has about 88% efficacy against the delta variant.

“Although we know the overwhelming majority of infections are in unvaccinated individuals, our vaccines are not perfect,” Dr. Russo said.

You have to get tested within 72 hours of your trip, and the test cannot be a rapid antigen one or you will be denied entry. All travelers older than five must present either a negative COVID-19 test or have a proof of a positive test between 14 and 180 days before arrival.

So, where can you get an approved test?

Walgreens offers the PCR test for free in most cases, you can make an appointment and find a location near you by going to their website, results typically take 48 hours, insurance is required. If you are getting the test last minute go to wnyrapidtesting.com, you can find a location near you for a Canadian border test, and you’ll get results in 30 minutes for $225. D’Youville also offers a PCR test at $125 for results 48 hours later or $160 for results in 24 hours. But Dr. Russo suggests getting the test done a few days ahead of time to be safe.

“If you wait for the last minute there’s a good chance that you may have the test done but not have the result in time to enter Canada,” Dr. Russo said.

Before you cross the border, you also have to be sure to submit your COVID-19 information into an app called arriveCAN and if you don’t have a smartphone, go to their website, enter your information and print out the receipt to take to the border.