The Tampa International Airport announced Tuesday that it will be the first in the nation to test passengers for the coronavirus in the terminal.
The Florida airport and BayCare Health System will offer voluntary testing for any passenger departing from or arriving at the airport. The tests are open to anyone who has flown, or is flying, within three days, and can show proof of travel.
Tampa international CEO Joe Lopano said during a news conference Tuesday that “testing is the key to getting back to travel.”
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He added that this is a trial program for the month of October.
“If it’s successful, and we think it will be, we’ll continue and we’ll build it and it will grow even more,” he said.
There will be two types of tests for passengers: a rapid antigen test, which costs $57, and a polymerase chain reaction swab, which costs $125. The tests will be offered daily on a walk-in basis from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. through the month of October.
During a news conference, airport officials said passengers will be encouraged to take the more expensive swab three days before departure. Results for that test should arrive within 48 hours. The antigen test “offers an added layer of same-day reassurance” for travelers, airport executives said.
Florida has more than 700,000 confirmed cases of the coronavirus and 14,200 people have died from the disease, according to statistics released by the state Department of Health on Sunday. On Tuesday morning at 11 a.m., there were 2,161 people hospitalized with the virus in Florida.