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'We're going to need the COVID-19 test within 72 hours of our departure' | Couple retiring overseas struggling to find a quick turnaround test

10 years ago, Bev and Robbie Collins decided they wanted to retire abroad. With only a month until the move, one of the biggest obstacles is getting a COVID-19 test.

A North Carolina couple's plans to retire overseas could come grinding to a halt. Their airline requires a negative COVID-19 test - taken, and with results back - within 72 hours from departure.

It's not that they mind taking a test. Bev Collins says, she wouldn't want to travel at all without getting a negative result leading up to her trip. The problem: finding and qualifying for a test with a quick enough turnaround time. 

10 years ago, she and her husband Robbie Collins began planning to retire overseas. When they visited Portugal, they fell in love. 

"We plan to live on the island of Madeira, which is about 500 miles off the northwest coast of Morroco," she explained. 

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The couple even found a place to live, and are now in the process of signing a lease. Paperwork processed - their visas are on the way - and the current plan is to fly out next month. Since they'll be residents, the travel ban to Europe doesn't impact them. 

But, there is one problem they need to find a way around.

"We have ourselves ready to go as soon as the paperwork comes through," she said, "We have this one limitation on the flight. We have a reservation for August 12 that we may or may not have to change, but it appears that regardless of what day we choose to fly, we’re going to need the COVID-19 test within 72 hours of our departure."

Collins says she completely understands the requirement. However finding a test, with that kind of turnaround, is certainly a challenge.

She's attempted to sign up for drive-through testing at locations like CVS, however, without any symptoms of coronavirus, she didn't qualify for a test. When it comes to getting a test through the health department, there is no guarantee results will be back within a 72-hour window.

Companies like LabCorp report more testing nationwide will increase the time it takes to get back results.

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"To be fair, my test isn't as important as some of the others that are going through their labs," Collins said, "I don't seek special treatment, but I do think there needs to be a way to get around this requirement somehow, and complying with the rules and finding a way to satisfy the people who do need to do something like travel at this time."

Collins says she's learned to be flexible, but hopes for solutions.

"We're confident that will get there eventually, and we are patient and we are willing to wait. But as we close in on a date, holding airline tickets for August 1, all of these little pieces need to find a place."

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