Welcome to New York City, I’ll Now Swab Your Nose

New York arriving airplane passengers offered optional, free coronavirus testing services 
staute of liberty with clouds in the background

The governor of New York announced that the state was expanding its COVID-19 testing pilot program to include both JFK and Laguardia airports. 

According to Governor Andrew Cuomo’s statement on August 24, 2020, this optional, free, coronavirus testing program will be managed by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and New York City Health + Hospitals.

It’s not clear how many coronavirus tests will be administered, or if testing stations will be set up at all of the terminals in these airports. During 2019, the Port Authority’s airport system reported an all-time annual record of 140.5 million passengers.

Previously, on August 20, 2020, a new XpresCheck COVID-19 testing facility opened at Terminal B at Newark Liberty International Airport. and during June, the Port Authority had launched a pilot testing center for airport workers at JFK.

“The Port Authority has taken proactive measures to provide a safe environment for both employees and customers, including piloting a partnership with XpresCheck to bring testing right into our airport terminals,” said Rick Cotton, Port Authority Executive Director, in a press statement. 

“We look forward to seeing the results of the pilot at Newark Liberty and to further conversations with XpresCheck. We hope to see testing capability expand as widely as possible.”

Similar to the site in JFK’s Terminal 4, the Newark testing site is a new modular site constructed on Level 3 in Terminal B. It provides 9 separate testing rooms and is capable of conducting both COVID-19 testing and antibody testing.

XpresSpa Group recently signed a contract with Abbott Laboratories securing 100 ID NOW testing instruments. This rapid molecular testing technology has emerged as a critical part of the diagnostic landscape to help fight the pandemic by allowing fast, accurate diagnosis.

Dr. Marcelo Venegas, Medical Officer, XpresSpa Group, Inc., said in an August 24, 2020 press statement, “Cutting the time for results to 15 minutes or less changes the testing paradigm for travelers and airport employees, creating a series of benefits. It means early detection results are known in time to take appropriate measures to prevent disease transmission."

"This is literally a shortcut to a safer environment for airport staff, travelers, and all of the communities in which they come in contact.”

Both antibody testing and polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing are available on-site, and the tests are sent to outside laboratories. All insurance plans are accepted ‘outside of network’ and all information will remain private and HIPAA-compliant.

These services will be available to all airport employees, including airline employees, contractors and workers, concessionaires and their employees, TSA officers, and U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents.

Travelers entering New York or New Jersey from certain states with high COVID-19 disease infection rates should be quarantined for 14-Days. For a list of designated states, travel guidance, and information for essential workers, please visit the New York or New Jersey COVID-19 pages

Also, the Port Authority Alerts is a free subscription service that notifies customers of incidents or events that may delay their trip across facilities operated by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.

Vax-Before-Travel publishes research-based travel news.