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Family struggles to return to Argentina

Staff photo / Bob Coupland Howland native Tracy Taiclet de Montagna, center, spends time playing in the snow with her husband, Ignacio, left, and their son, Nico, who turns 4 on Wednesday, at her parents’ home in Howland.

HOWLAND — A Howland native who has returned home to visit her parents now is facing challenges to return to Argentina with her husband and son.

Tracy Taiclet de Montagna, a resident of Buenos Aires, said when she left Argentina she and her husband, Ignacio, and their son, Nico, 3, were all tested for coronavirus and received negative results that same day. They were allowed to come into the U.S. on Feb. 7.

“The United States and many countries ask that the test be done. The test we had done in Argentina was $80 for all three of us, and we had results eight hours later that day,” she said.

Taiclet de Montagna said the three are planning to leave Friday and are set to get tested again this week — and before they can leave they all have to be negative again.

She said they are required to be tested three days before they leave Friday by plane from New York and are worried they will not be able to get the results back in time or a snowstorm may alter the plane flight.

She said because their insurance is for Argentina and not the U.S., she has called area places about getting the coronavirus test at local drug stores or urgent cares for free under the CARES Act, as she and her son are U.S. citizens. Nico, who will mark his fourth birthday Wednesday, does not need to be tested, as he is under age 5. They have decided not to get him tested.

Taiclet de Montagna said because her husband is not an American citizen, some places will not give him the test. She found an urgent care with a lab on Belmont Avenue in Liberty that will give her husband the test for $250 and have results within 24 hours if possible. Her cost for getting her results in 24 hours also would be $250.

“While I have found a place to do the test, my big dilemma is the turnaround. Results are three to five days because of mail delays and FedEx delayed by winter weather. Results are taking more time to get back, usually four days. By law I need the results three days prior to me boarding a plane and have to show the results to the check-in to board the plane,” she said.

The couple’s flight leaves New York on Friday for Dallas, and then to Buenos Aires. They have to drive six hours to New York from Ohio.

They have to preregister and plan to get tested Wednesday with hopes to have the results emailed by Thursday or very early Friday or have to reschedule their flight home — which will cost more money and require testing to be redone. Taiclet de Montagna said another concern is if her plane is delayed because of winter weather.

“My big worry is, I want to get tested and pray there are no more snowstorms to delay the flight, and the results will come back in time for us to leave. If that is the case, we would have to redo the testing again three days before we leave.The timing of the results has been the main problem,” she said.

Taiclet de Montagna said they wanted to come to Howland to see her parents, Warner and Norma Taiclet. Warner has been battling health issues. Taiclet de Montagna also saw her three siblings and their children.

Norma said they were glad their daughter’s family was home to be able to celebrate Nico’s birthday.

“This is the first snow he has seen up close and been able to play in,” Taiclet de Montagna said.

Warner Taiclet said he was glad his daughter and her family could visit but did not want them to be stranded here.

Taiclet de Montagna said Argentina had a more strict lockdown than in the U.S. last year, with everything closed and people not allowed to leave homes. A children’s play area in their neighborhood also was closed.

“We could not even walk in our own neighborhoods for six months. Once things began opening up, people had to have masks, and there were still many restrictions. At least in Howland people could take walks outside,” she said.

She said Buenos Aires rarely experiences snow, only in the mountains and further south. She said the country has four seasons, and while June, July and August are cold, celebrating Christmas in the summer in is odd. In the fall months of March to May, soccer is played.

Igancio is a travel agent in Argentina, and she is a prefect — a teacher’s assistant in the English department in a private school.

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