Tampa International Airport in Florida is the first airport in the United States to offer coronavirus testing for all travelers. The airport announced that two types of COVID-19 tests will be available for all incoming and outgoing fliers to purchase.
The airport has set up a testing site at its main terminal and is offering an antigen test for $57 and a Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test for $125. Travelers about to board a flight are likely to opt for the antigen test, which can provide results in just 15 minutes and has an accuracy rate of about 88%. The quick results are important to Jeff Gonzales, a physician traveling to Colorado from Tampa.
"I'm going to do it so that I know that I'm negative so that I can be comfortable walking around other people without infecting them," he told NBC News. "I think having the test done and showing negativity is really what's important as we try to get people involved in sort of group settings like airline travel."
Passengers who opt for the PCR test, which has an accuracy rate of 95%, will have to wait up to 48 hours for their results. Because the results take longer, the PCR test is a better option for travelers who just arrived in Tampa and can self-isolate until they receive the results.
The airport is struggling amid the coronavirus pandemic and has seen traffic drop by 63% compared to last year. Officials hope that the tests will give people confidence that it is safe to fly.
"We got to 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.
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