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Coronavirus

Tampa International Airport to Test Passengers for Coronavirus

September 29, 2020

St. PETERSBURG, Fla. — The Tampa International Airport says it will test passengers for 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 says the trial program will run the month of October with two types of tests for passengers: a $57 rapid antigen swab test and a $125 polymerase swab.

The antigen test looks for coronavirus protein and offer quicker but less accurate results. The polymerase test looks for virus genetic material and take longer for more accurate results.

Airport officials say passengers will be encouraged to take the more expensive swab three days before departure. Results should arrive within 48 hours. The antigen test “offers an added layer of same-day reassurance” for travelers, they say.

Travelers with a positive result are highly encouraged to cancel all travel plans, quarantine and contact a doctor, BayCare officials say. Under law, BayCare is required to report all positive results to the Florida Department of Health.

On Friday, Gov. Ron DeSantis moved Florida into Phase 3, giving bars and restaurants the green light to operate at full capacity.

However, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told ABC’s “Good Morning America” on Monday the move is “very concerning” and could lead to another outbreak. He says in a group setting, “particularly without masks, you’re really asking for trouble.”

Florida has more than 700,000 confirmed cases and 14,200 deaths from the virus.

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