California couple stuck in Italy: How husband's breakthrough COVID case could cost them $10,000

Matthew tested positive for COVID-19, despite both he and his wife taking two tests 24 hours before they left.

ByTim Johns KABC logo
Tuesday, August 24, 2021
Vaccinated CA couple stuck in Italy after positive COVID test
A Bay Area couple is stuck in Italy after the husband tested positive for coronavirus, despite both being vaccinated.

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. -- It's a trip many people dream of -- an anniversary trip to Italy.

But for Matthew and Katherine Walden of Mountain View, California, their anniversary to Milan has turned into a nightmare.

"The night that we arrived here in Italy, I woke up in the middle of the night with a fever," Matthew said.

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The next morning, Matthew tested positive for COVID-19, despite both he and his wife taking two tests 24 hours before they left and both being fully vaccinated.

Now, they're stuck in quarantine in their hotel for anywhere between 10 and 21 days, depending on how things unfold.

"I tested negative this whole time. So if I still continue to test negative, I can leave on day 10 because I've been in contact with a positive case. But if I test positive on day 10 then that restarts my clock," Katherine said.

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The trip could end up costing the Walden's close to $10,000, a fee that won't be covered by the travel insurance they purchased.

"We thought we had really good travel insurance. This was both through our credit card through our employer. So that was one of the first things we looked into when this happened," said Matthew.

It's a cautionary tale, says travel attorney Randy Warren, who advises everyone thinking of traveling abroad to read the fine print of whatever insurance policy they may get.

"If you buy travel medical insurance, quarantine is not medical treatment, it's medical isolation without any treatment and may well be excluded," Warren said.

So for now, the Waldens are hoping their story serves as a cautionary tale for others thinking of getting away, until they're able to get back home.

"Just be aware of the risk of traveling, fully aware of all the procedures before taking a trip that you won't be prepared to quarantine in," said Matthew.