McKinley Health Center has been contacted by students, faculty and staff regarding COVID-19 test results in preparation for international travel. Requirements differ by airline, destination country, turnaround time, and report type. 
The following information may be helpful as you determine travel and COVID-19 related testing requirements: 

Testing (see specific test definitions below)

  • Saliva Testing – Is available at campus testing locations. The campus-based saliva test is a very sensitive and specific nucleic acid (i.e. PCR) test, which is resulted quickly, often in less than 24 hours.
  • Nucleic acid (i.e. molecular) Testing
    • Nasal testing is available within the Champaign-Urbana (C-U) community.  Testing is also available on campus (M-F) at CRCE.  To test at CRCE you must schedule an appointment by calling 217-244-5661. The nasal specimens collected at CRCE are sent to Carle’s Lab for processing and results are usually available within 24-48 hours. Nasal testing for travel is $45.
    • Nasopharyngeal testing is not generally available within the C-U community. If this is a documented requirement, the test must be performed by a licensed provider and availability is limited in the C-U community
  • Antibody testing (IgM and IgG Rapid Test - Available for eligible students)
    • The COVID-19 IgM antibody test is now required for some international travelers.
    • McKinley Health Center offers the IgM/IgG Rapid Test to eligible students. This test is available for a $35 charge.
    • Scheduling an appointment for blood draw:
    • Call (217) 244-5661 to schedule. The test will be charged to your student account. You must have a negative COVID test within 4 days of your scheduled appointment.
    • For same day results, your appointment must be scheduled between 8:30 am and 3:00 p.m. Monday - Friday (testing is not available 11/26 - 11/27)
    • For appointments scheduled after 3:00 PM, your results will be available the next day
    • Results will be posted in your University of Illinois Patient Health Portal when results are available. You will receive an email notification and a secure message in your portal re: your results. To print results: Log in to your portal, click on the Lab Results Icon, select the visit date and click on the pdf icon.

Official Reports
To obtain your official report, log in to

  • Click on the Lab Results icon
  • Click on the Download icon for the specific test date
  • Click on the Printer icon, then Print


Off campus testing

  • If your specimen was collected at an off-campus facility in the C-U community or outside of C-U, you will need to follow the instructions provided at the site where your specimen was collected to obtain your official test results


Below are some definitions to help you sort out your needs:

Nucleic Acid Tests:  Molecular tests look for the presence of viral genetic segments unique to the COVID-19 virus.  PCR testing is the standard method of testing.  The test medium may be saliva, nasal, nasopharyngeal, or pharyngeal.

Antigen Tests:  These tests look for surface proteins of the COVID-19 virus.  Most of the antigen tests are rapid tests and the test medium is usually nasal, nasopharyngeal, or pharyngeal swabs.  Available antigen tests have generally not been as sensitive nor specific as the nucleic acid tests.

Antibody Tests:  Following COVID-19 infection, most individuals will respond to the infection with an initial short duration IgM antibody increase and then a longer lasting IgG antibody.  Some individuals with a very mild infection may not have a detectable antibody.  Antibody tests require a blood specimen. The test may be a rapid test using as little as a drop of blood. Other tests require a tube of blood to be sent to a reference lab.  There are several different techniques used in determining the presence of an antibody.  There is still a lot of controversy regarding antibody testing and the presence of the antibody does suggest a recent (IgM) or longer term (IgG) infection. The absence of an antibody does not mean the individual has not been infected.

Tuesday, November 3, 2020 - 08:45