San Francisco International Airport just became the first airport in the U.S. to offer rapid COVID-19 testing to all airport and airline employees, with results in an hour or less.
As part of a two-decade-old partnership with Dignity Health, SFO launched a rapid-testing program in late July beginning with airline flight crews only. As the airport announced Monday, tests now available to all airport employees are conducted at Dignity Health-GoHealth Urgent Care’s dedicated COVID-19 testing area outside the airport terminals, and employees can reserve appointment times for the tests.
The testing center will be open daily from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., and the Dignity Health team expects to be able to have test-result turnaround times decrease from one hour.
"SFO continues to take action to protect the health and safety of both our employees and our travelers,” said Airport Director Ivar C. Satero in a statement. "Thanks to this partnership with Dignity Health-GoHealth Urgent Care, SFO is the first U.S. airport to offer convenient testing for airport employees with rapid results. I am grateful to the entire team who made this milestone a reality."
More than 1,000 TSA agents had tested positive for COVID-19 across the country as of early July, as the Washington Post reported, with screening officers accounting for 90 percent of those cases. The union representing the country's 50,000 TSA employees said at the time that not enough was being done to protect the workers who continue to have to work in close proximity to each other, and thousands of airline passengers daily.
As of late June, 500 Delta Airlines employees had tested positive, and 10 had died.
Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey, which is a major hub for United Airlines, opened its own COVID-testing site last week, however it sounds as though the results are not available as quickly as the SFO facility.
It's unclear if or when the SFO testing program may be expanded to airline passengers.
Photo: Duke Cullinan/Unsplash