WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) — Time and money are what one Wichita woman says she lost thanks to a COVID-19 testing nightmare. A nightmare that lasted days as she was traveling abroad and back.
Audrey Korte is a Wichita State University graduate student who traveled to Sierra Leone a couple of weeks ago for a fellowship. The trip to West Africa was delayed four days, mostly due to the speed of COVID-19 tests, or rather lack thereof, and the problems continued on her way back.
“I spent the night in the Wichita airport, got up the next morning, and finally got on my flight. I arrived in Freetown around 7:55 p.m.,” Korte explained.
After landing in Sierra Leone on Nov. 21, Korte says she was missing luggage and needed more tests done, “I had to get two rapid COVID tests in the Freetown Airport. For people who haven’t traveled to the developing world, you’re always going to run into logistical problems. So, that one group of people from one plane tested took five hours.”
Coming back to the U.S. after her trip was an adventure too. But, unfortunately, when she finally left Africa, she hit another roadblock in Belgium.
“I had to figure out a way in about five hours to get a COVID test in Brussels. I found a security agent with who I was able to explain the situation. If it hadn’t been for the people trying to help me, really going out of their way, I honestly think I’d be stuck in Brussels right now.”
Now, finally, back in her home in Wichita, Korte says if you think about traveling abroad, be ready for all sorts of delays.
“If you have an event that you need to be at on Thursday, I would be leaving on Sunday, at the latest. Just understand that we’re not there yet. Nobody knows what they’re doing, and be patient with people.”
Korte says she spent more than $1,000 in rebooking and COVID-19 testing expenses, not to mention 100 hours stuck waiting in airports. As a result, she says she has no urge to travel outside the U.S. anytime soon.