New York Airports Start Offering Rapid COVID-19 Tests

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Time frames to get COVID-19 tests results back are shrinking fast. Not so long ago, it was taking days. Now, private enterprise is coming up with tests that generate results within minutes. One such business, XpresCheck, is now operating testing stations at two New York airports that promise results within 15 minutes. That kind of rapid result service offers a path out of the current mess the airline industry finds itself in.

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Rapid 15 minute COVID-19 tests are now on offer at JFK and Newark airports. Photo: Getty Images

“We believe rapid COVID-19 testing at airports can play a major role in slowing the virus spread,” said Doug Satzman, CEO of XpresSpa Group, in a media statement.

“Having a rapid test inside the airport immediately upon travel could also eliminate the need for a full 14-day quarantine in states where that applies.”

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Fast results on offer at Newark & JFK airports

The rapid COVID-19 tests are available at New York’s Newark and JFK airports from Wednesday, October 7. You can find the test station on level 3 in Terminal B at Newark and Terminal 4 at JFK.

“Cutting the time for results to 15 minutes or less changes the testing paradigm for travelers and airport employees, creating a series of benefits,” says Dr. Marcelo Venegas, a medical officer with XpresCheck.

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“It means early detection results are known in time to take appropriate measures to prevent disease transmission. This is literally a shortcut to a safer environment.”

The business has plans to roll out rapid COVID-19 testing stations at large and medium airports around the United States. XpresCheck already operates health and wellness facilities at 25 airports around the world. They are an example of a private enterprise leading the way when it comes to COVID-19 testing.

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Fast-tracking test results will mean less hanging around at airports. Photo: Getty Images

Airlines and airports pour resources into developing COVID testing stations

In recent months, we’ve seen airlines and airports work in conjunction with health and medical organizations to get COVID-19 testing stations up and running. Early examples, like Lufthansa’s facility at Frankfurt were taking three hours to get test results back. That’s better than a few days, but no-one really wants to hang around at an airport for three hours after landing.

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Now, as time frames shrink, COVID-19 testing at airports is becoming more and more viable. Ideally, the testing and the results get done before traveling. The result can then get electronically linked to your ticket, and assuming all is well, you are good to go.

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Widespread preflight COVID testing is the key to restarting travel. Photo: Getty Images

In the absence of an effective vaccine, efficient airport COVID-19 centers are the passport to travel, and the airline industry getting back on its feet.

“We are proud to be playing our part in supporting the return of air travel to pre-pandemic levels by making sure both airport employees and travelers feel safe and confident when they come to the airport,” said Mr Satzman.

On most levels, rapid result COVID-19 testing like what XpresSpa is offering seems a no-brainer. They may not be perfect, and some travelers will show up as asymptomatic, but in the absence of a vaccine, they are one of the best tools we have to manage and contain the spread of COVID-19 while allowing us to get on with our lives and get flying again.

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