Tampa Airport Is Now Offering Passengers COVID-19 Test

Tampa International Airport (TPA) is the first airport in the United States to offer COVID-19 testing for all arriving and departing passengers. In partnership with BayCare Health System, the pilot scheme will offer two types of FDA-approved COVID-19 tests for all passengers.

Tampa Bay International Airport
The COVID-19 testing at TPA will last until October 31. Photo: TPA

According to a press release seen by Simple Flying, the testing site will be located inside the main terminal building near the airside F shuttle. The coronavirus tests being offered include the rapid antigen test and Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test. Any passenger interested in being tested for COVID-19 can purchase either test regardless of which airline they are flying to or their final destination.

Tests are performed on a walk-in basis

The testing will take place on a walk-in basis from 08:00 until 14:00 and operate seven days per week until October 31, 2020. The pilot, COVID-19 testing program is open to all passengers who have a ticket who are either flying or have flown within three days. The tests range from $57 for the antigen test and $125 for the PCR COVID-19 test. Many destinations worldwide accept negative PCR tests as proof of not having the coronavirus, and in some cases, it is enough to avoid quarantine restrictions.

The PCR test results take 48 hours

Antigen tests are typically performed when a person has signs or symptoms consistent with COVID-19 or is asymptomatic but has recently known or suspected exposure to a person infected with the COVID-19 virus.

A Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test is used to directly detect an antigen’s presence, rather than the presence of the body’s immune response, or antibodies. By detecting viral RNA, which will be present in the body before antibodies form or symptoms of the disease are present, the tests can tell whether someone has the virus very early on.

The antigen tests’ results take around 15 minutes, while a PCR test can take 48 hours. For this reason, it is recommended that passengers who want to take a PCR test do so three days before travel.

BayCare Health System has tested over 210,000

In a TPA press release TPA CEO Joe Lopano and BayCare’s Nishant Anand said the following:

“As a gateway to the West Coast of Florida with a growing market for international travel, Tampa International Airport has a responsibility to explore safe, rapid and affordable ways to keep our travelers, their destinations and our community as safe and healthy as possible. We’re thankful to our partners at BayCare in helping us create a pilot program that gives us a step in the right direction, as well as providing a valuable service to our passengers.”

TPA COVID-19 testing
Results from the PCR test can take 48 hours. Photo: TPA

BayCare is one of the leading healthcare companies in West Central Florida and was one of the first to start offering COVID-19 testing at drive-through locations early on during the pandemic. Since March, BayCare Health System has tested more than 210,000 people for COVID-19.

Nishant Anand, MD, executive vice president, and chief medical officer at BayCare Health System, said the folllowing:

“We’re proud to continue to work with local partners like TPA to expand access to COVID-19 testing. We believe testing plays a crucial role in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. Testing travelers for the virus could help mitigate any potential spread in airports and planes.”

Tampa Bay International Airport
Tampa Bay International Airport is the first in the US to offer COVID-19 testing. Photo: TPA

For more information about COVID-19 testing at Tampa International Airport, passengers are invited to go to the BayCare Health System website by clicking on the link.

What do you think about the COVID-19 testing at Tampa International Airport, and do you think everyone should be tested for COVID-19 before being allowed to fly? Please tell us what you think in the comments.