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What happens when you test positive for COVID when traveling?

News19 sits down with a South Carolina couple who contracted COVID abroad.

COLUMBIA, S.C. — The Christmas season is quickly approaching and with that comes holiday travels. But what happens if you test positive while on your trip? That's exactly what happened to one South Carolinian couple, while they traveled abroad.

Imagine going to Greece for a holiday -- island hopping, enjoying the beautiful Mykonos beaches and seeing the sites at Athens. April DeMuth and Warren Watson did just that, but hours before boarding their flight home, they got an email informing them Warren had tested positive for COVID.

"To get back to the U.S. you need an antigen test," DeMuth said. "We decided we would schedule ours the state of departure."

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She went on to say, "The email comes in with the results, I hear Warren behind me say, 'Oh, my gosh I tested positive.' That stopped us right in our tracks."

"We weren't sure what to do exactly," Watson said.

"As we were leaving, we thought it would be great to stay in Greece for another week. We definitely didn't plan on doing it that way," DeMuth added.

The couple was fully vaccinated, but at the time, they needed to show negative COVID test results to fly home. After getting their results they got a call from the Greek authorities, and were transported to a quarantine hotel.

"Once you're checked into your room, you are not permitted to leave the room, not to go downstairs and certainly not to go outside," said DeMuth.

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"Just a little unnerving what to expect over the next seven days," Watson said.

A knock at the door signaled their food was there, and that's where they stayed for seven days.

Watson said, "We get into the hotel day one and we realize we can't leave the room for seven days."

Dr. Melissa Nolan, Assistant Professor of Epidemiology at USC, says there are a number of things travelers can do ahead of time, such as making sure you have a place to quarantine if you test positive, knowing where the COVID testing sites are, and most importantly having a back up plan.

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"There have been several studies about the safety of being on planes. Based on the airflow and the air exchange, it is safe to be on, especially if wearing a mask," said Dr. Nolan.

She went on to say, "Getting vaccinated and getting the booster is one of the best things you can do for yourself."

As for travel enthusiasts DeMuth and Watson, they're already planning their next trip. 

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