CVS Covid Test vs. EMed Covid test

Tomorrow is cruise day on the Carnival Magic, and it’s been an interesting couple of days to say the least. As you know, to get on a cruise right now you have to have a negative covid test within two days of your cruise. That didn’t sound so hard. Right? So, we booked two antigen covid tests at CVS two weeks before the cruise. We got confirmed and it was good to go…until it wasn’t. We got two emails cancelling both of our covid tests.

I really didn’t know what to do, and I didn’t trust CVS anymore, so I ordered the proctored tests that you do on the internet from the website that Carnival Cruise lines suggested. We also both got appointments at different CVS Minute Clinics for a backup.

The day before we left I went over to Minute Clinic on my lunch hour to get my test. It actually went quite smoothly although I had been nervous because CVS was not working on MyChart. They sent me a couple of texts before I got there. One was a video on how to do the test. The other was a phone number to call when I got to CVS. I parked in a designated spot and called the number. She asked for the code that I got when I made the appointment (you send in a picture of your insurance card if you have one when you make the appointment.) She then told me to come on into the little white building at the side of our CVS.

Once I went in she asked for my driver’s license, then had me take the swab and rub it in circles in each nostril for ten seconds. I then put it back into the container she had. She gave me some paperwork and told me I’d get a text with results in about an hour. Longest hour of my life. But I finally got the results in a text and an email. I printed them out just in case.

My husband didn’t have it so easy. He got to the other CVS Minute Clinic for his appointment and no one was there. He called and no one answered. He went into CVS and they said the Minute Clinic was closed. He never got a cancellation notice. I hear that this happens a lot. Thankfully we had the proctored tests at home.

We had never done an online covid test before but we had seen a couple of vlogs watching people do it. First we downloaded the Navica app onto our phone and opened an account in his name. That’s where we got the results of his test. You open it and scan the barcode of your test box (be sure not to open anything till they tell you to or it’s not valid.) After that it told me to log into to get a proctor. (the person who helps you with the test.)

I went to EMed with the same password and email address. It only took a couple of minutes for a proctor to come on. They were a bit hard for us to understand because of the accents, but there are also directions on the screen. He had to show his ID, then he had to put the box barcode to the laptop camera, then open the box while keeping it flat so she could see him do it. I had to hold the laptop so that the camera was seeing everything.

There was a swab, a test card, and a bottle of liquid in the box. She had him open the card and lay it flat and keep it flat, put six drops of the liquid in the smaller hole, then use the swab to go five times around each nostril. Then he inserted the swab into the large hole so it went up into the smaller hole with the liquid. She then set the timer for fifteen minutes and told us to be back in front of the camera at the end of the fifteen minutes. We were not supposed to touch anything.

At the end of the fifteen minutes it asked if we were ready. We clicked on yes, and another proctor came on. We had to hold the test card with the swab in it up to the camera to scan. We could already tell by looking at it that it was negative because it only had one line on it. He asked if it looked like the negative illustration on the screen and he said yes. Then they sent an email with the negative results and it also came up in the Navica app.

I wanted to print it just in case. You’re supposed to be able to save a pdf to your phone but it wouldn’t download for me. I finally somehow managed to send it to myself and print it out.

So, what do I think of these two methods of testing? Minute Clinic was easier, but definitely not reliable. The proctored test was confusing, but we did get it done and got the results we needed. I really suggested having a backup method if you are going to cruise. I wish that Carnival would do the testing at the ship, it would be a lot less stressful. I don’t like having your entire cruise dependent on a test that is this hard to obtain.