TAMPA, Fla. - Tampa International Airport launched a new COVID-19 testing pilot program Thursday that is said to be the first, comprehensive program of its kind in the nation.
Before Kareena Dua boarded on her flight from Tampa to Boston she took a COVID-19 antibody test.
“Just to have the confidence getting on the plane I’m COVID-free and when I arrive and my friends pick me up in Boston in won't bring anything bad to them,” Dua said.
The new program allows passengers the option to take either a PCR nasal swab for $125 or the antibody test for $57. The results of the antibody tests take just 15 minutes, although they can be slightly less accurate.
TPA teamed up with BayCare to provide the tests and they can do approximately 150 per day.
“We all need across the country to make airline travel safer and make sure that people have COVID get picked up before they jump on a flight so I do fully anticipate that this will serve as a model for the rest of the country,” said Dr. Nishant Anand, Chief Medical Officer at BayCare Health System.
Shortly after our interview with Dua, her results were in and she tested negative.
“I think it is more comfort for everyone traveling just because it’s so accessible and it’s on the main floor here,” she said.
“Really, it’s about keeping people safe keeping them healthy and enjoying their lives going forward,” Dr. Anand said.
Tests are run from 8 a.m. until 2 p.m., seven days a week in October. Those who test positive will be highly discouraged from flying and asked to quarantine themselves.
If you feel sick:
The Florida Department of Health has opened a COVID-19 Call Center at 1-866-779-6121. Agents will answer questions around the clock. Questions may also be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org. Email responses will be sent during call center hours.
CORONAVIRUS IN FLORIDA: What you need to know
AROUND THE WORLD: CoronavirusNOW.com
Map of known COVID-19 cases:
MOBILE APP USERS: Click here for map