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Rapid COVID-19 Tests Become Available at New York Airports

A flyer waits at an airport wearing a face mask.

A flyer waits at an airport wearing a face mask.

Two of New York’s busiest airports will offer rapid COVID-19 testing on site, following a larger trend of airports and airlines offering examinations. The new XpresCheck locations will open at John F. Kennedy International Airport and Newark Liberty International Airport on Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2020.

Two more COVID-19 rapid testing centers will be available to flyers traveling through the New York City area starting Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2020. Xpresspa Group announced their locations at John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) and Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR).

Rapid Tests Augment PCR and Blood Antibody Tests

In addition to the widely used Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) and blood antibody tests available at both locations, the XpressCheck centers will now offer rapid testing to passengers. Using the Abbott ID NOW test, the company says they can provide results to flyers within 13 minutes, compared to traditional tests which can take up to 48 hours to process.

“We believe rapid COVID-19 testing at airports can play a major role in slowing the virus spread and decreasing the risk of new community outbreaks linked to travel as cases continue to rise throughout many states,” Doug Satzman, chief executive of XpresSpa, said in a press release. “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.”

Although the express test offers more flexibility for travelers, it may not be enough to get around quarantine requirements at certain destinations. The Abbott ID NOW COVID-19 test has not been cleared or approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, but rather given an emergency authorization when used in labs and patient care facilities.

Because states like Hawaii require very specific COVID-19 tests to get around their 14-day quarantine requirement, the ID NOW results may not necessarily be admissible. In addition, it is unclear if the exam will be allowed to circumvent international quarantine policies in the future.

COVID-19 Exams Grow in Popularity Among Airports and Airlines

As airlines look for ways to encourage travel, more and more are working with partners to offer COVID-19 tests prior to departure, or upon arrival. Tampa International Airport (TPA) launched an initiative to offer testing to anyone transiting through the terminal.

Additionally, American Airlines, JetBlue and United Airlines have all partnered with outside labs to offer flyer testing. While American and JetBlue’s tests are available at home, United will launch their testing options on Oct. 15, 2020.

sfoeuroflyer October 7, 2020

The problem is not technology. It is government bureaucrats. The rapid test can improve our lives, but the FDA is foot dragging. Foot dragging is what clueless bureaucrats specialize in. They forget "perfect is the enemy of the good".

DManzaluni October 7, 2020

Doesnt really say conclusively if this is for incoming or outgoing pax? Can this assist someone arriving in the US to avoid quarantine in NY / their final destination?

BMGRAHAM October 7, 2020

If the destination won't waive quarantine there's no point.