Tampa International to be first US airport to offer COVID-19 testing in terminal


TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Tampa International Airport will become the first airport in the United States to offer pre-flight COVID-19 testing right in the terminal, Today reported Tuesday.

The airport partnered with BayCare Health System to offer on-the-spot testing inside the main terminal. The tests are voluntary and available to passengers leaving the airport or those who have just landed.

The two tests are the PCR (polymerase chain reaction) test, which is 95% accurate in predicting illness, and the antigen test with 88% accuracy. The costs are $125 and $57 respectively, at the passengers’ expense.

The tests will give results within 15 minutes, according to the report.

Passengers who test positive for the virus will be told not to board the plane. If they test positive after landing, those on their flight will be notified of the exposure.

According to NBC, figures show commercial air traffic was down 68% in comparison to the same period last year. The airport hopes the new COVID-19 testing system will reassure potential customers hoping to fly safely.

“We gotta try to get out of this hole. Anything we can do to get out of this hole safely is what we should do,” said Tampa International Airport CEO Joe Lopano.

When asked if the tests should be mandatory, Lopano said, “It could be.”

The airport’s move comes as Florida moves into its third and final phase of reopening, lifting restrictions on restaurants and other businesses and banning local fines against those who refuse to wear masks.

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