Travis Smith: my resume, bio and photos back to the main blog page

I’m back in Canada tonight, quarantined in a hotel, and it’s pretty much my fault.

In order to cross into Canada, there are several requirements right now. In addition to needing to be a Canadian citizen, you need a negative Covid test that was taken in the past 72 hours.

Well, I almost had that.  I got my test on Wednesday morning, 96 hours ago - 4 days instead of 3.

I got tested on Wednesday for two reasons.  First, I wanted to get tested before I got a vaccination shot, not after, and my vaccination was on Wednesday morning, too. (That’s a whole other story, but since anyone in Montana over age 16 is allowed to get a vaccination — and since I vote in Montana and pay taxes and have been down here taking care of my dad for a lot of this year — I figured that was legit enough.)

And second, the Walgreens said the test results would take 2-4 days and I didn’t want to plan to cross in 3 days and then not have the test results at all.

So I decided I wouldn’t drive into town Thursday, that I’d just do the test on Wednesday, and then I would try to cross the border with a negative PCR test result that was 96 hours old instead of 72 hours old, and I’d tell them my reasons and see if they would accept that.

Besides… I have already had Covid.  I had a positive test in Alberta last November, and went through quarantine then.  I had the sniffles and a sore throat, and other than that was perfectly fine, but I do think that should mean I’m not at risk of getting it again — though I have still been wearing masks and minimizing any activities in public places and all those sorts of protocols.

Plus.. I’m now partially vaccinated.  And finally, I have had basically no contact with any person other than my father for the past 5 days (other than at the vaccination clinic). So as far as risk goes — I’m far more likely to get exposed to Covid in Calgary, than I am to be bringing anything in with me.

But the guy with the badge at the border sent me to a border nurse, and the nurse interviewed me and then called her supervisor, and they decided that the law is the law — which, I agree with; it’s not unspirited to ask someone to follow the rules.

And they didn’t give me an exception: they gave me a choice.  1) Go into hotel quarantine. 2) Go back to Shelby, MT, and wait until tomorrow and get a new test and cross the border when those test results arrive.

I chose #1, so I could at least work tomorrow (Monday) and so they gave me a directive to drive directly from the Coutts crossing to the Calgary International airport and report the quarantine hotels they set up, and now I’m in quarantine. Do not pass Go. Do not get any visitors. Do not leave until you roll a negative.

Which is pretty surreal.

I’m supposed to get a NEW Covid-19 test here at the hotel, which they can’t administer until tomorrow, and then when that eventually comes back negative (as it will), then I can go home and finish my quarantine. Which was my original plan.

Weirdly, I don’t have to pay for the hotel or food or parking, and my car is the only one in the lot of this hotel — everyone else here is brought from the airport by black unmarked shuttle van (true story) and they aren’t disclosing what hotel it is, as they are “worried about protests.”

Weirdly, I do have to pay for the Covid test. I say weirdly because I wouldn’t have to pay for the additional Covid test if it was the one that approved travelers are required to take at the border itself. So if they HAD accepted me to enter, I’d have gotten a free test, but because they rejected my negative test, I have to pay to be retested? Even though it’s a test in Alberta, where I have health insurance? Anyway…

I am required to stay in my room (sealed windows) 24/7 until the federal quarantine officer gives the all-clear for me to leave.

The wifi is fine, and I don’t have any pressing business because I was assuming I’d be quarantining at home. And I’m glad the system works.

But I must tell you, I won’t be forgetting this experience for the rest of my life. It’s pretty weird to have someone outside your room at the end of the hallway, watching that you don’t leave.

And I’m also hoping like hell that the vaccination, now 4 days old, doesn’t give me symptoms or a positive test result. It seems to be still unclear as to whether a vaccination could ever produce a positive Covid test result.



 
 

 

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Resurfacing

Overheard

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