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LaGuardia Airport Now Offering Free COVID-19 Tests To Passengers

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) - There are still no federal regulations for COVID health screenings at U.S. airports.

Bur Wednesday night, LaGuardia Airport is the latest to offer on-site COVID-19 tests to passengers.

LaGuardia COVID Testing
(credit: CBS2)

The state is partnering with NYC Health and Hospitals to offer the free COVID tests.

As CBS'2s Jennifer McLogan reports, passengers are rushing off the plane, and it's like tag team with the NYC Test and Trace Corps.

"They are reminding travelers the mandate to quarantine for 14 days," one member of the Test and Trace Corps explained.

Now there's another addition to the coronavirus clampdown.


"You get registered. You get tested right here. It's boom, boom, boom. You're in and out," said Dr. Ted Long of NYC Health & Hospitals.

Test results are given by phone within 48 hours.

"Do you think you might get tested today?" McLogan asked one traveler.

"Yes, we just came in from Brazil. We were there a month," said traveler Durbal Ortigosa of New Rochelle.

The test site is large, inside a wing of Terminal B's parking garage main floor, with dozens of employees showing the way to the nasal swab location.

"We are going to do everything we can to promote travelers to come to this test site at LaGuardia. Open seven days a week, 9-7, testing is free," said Port Authority Executive Director Rick Cotton.

"A pretty important thing. The fact that it's free, offered to anyone and everyone to get it," said traveler Asia Cobb.

LaGuardia COVID Testing
(credit: CBS2)

During its initial rollout, 100 passengers jumped at the chance to get tested. The airport medical staff is equipped to handle quadruple that amount each day.

Some have trepidation.

"It's a little uncomfortable," one traveler said.

"Nah, I wouldn't want to do it in an airport," said another.

Other passengers hope a negative test may soon mean skipping quarantine at their destination.

Now multiple airline councils and unions are joining hospitals with a demand that all travelers be tested within 72 hours before a flight,.

"We believe the federal government should require a negative result before boarding that plane. It's what a lot of countries are doing now. Nobody wants to be on a plane with a lot of people that could have COVID," said Dr. Long.

Just like removing shoes and discarding liquid, some want a COVID test part of airplane travel.

The airport COVID testing is also open to airline employees and residents of the Queens community.

JFK Airport will be the next to offer free screening.


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