Keenan finished nursing school only a month ago. He got a job doing pandemic testing at Newark International Airport.
He had a dozen live tests and placed them in the reader. He couldn’t help but feel a bit anxious.
“You okay, Keenan?” his colleague Gemma asked.
“I guess. Why do you ask?”
“You’re tapping your foot.”
“Oh. I hadn’t even noticed,” Keenan said. “I’m always worried about getting a positive test result.”
Gemma was shocked. “You haven’t had one yet?”
“No! Have you?”
“Yeah, just last week. It’s hard to talk to the passenger, especially if they make a fuss out of it. They did buy a plane ticket and probably had plans, so I get it,” Gemma said.
“What if they refuse to leave?”
“That’s what security is for.”
The machine dinged, signaling that the results were in. Keenan carefully looked over each test and let out a sigh of relief. “No positive tests today!”
The aviation industry continues to adjust its business practices as new policies and restrictions arise to mitigate the pandemic. Some airports are looking to implement rapid virus testing to ease fliers’ anxieties around traveling during the pandemic. Rapid testing in airports would allow travelers to avoid mandatory quarantines when traveling to countries or states with those restrictions. However, the cost of virus testing in airports, which could be as much as $250 USD, would fall on the traveler.
Airlines hope to get more people traveling as soon as possible. Rapid testing in airports is one way that could happen. For airport testing to become commonplace, airports will need to be redesigned in a way that accommodates large groups of people waiting for test results. As well, airports will need to hire nurses or health officials to administer and process the tests. This could increase the demand for nurses and healthcare professionals to work outside of a traditional healthcare setting.
Footnote: Ryan Barwick, “Airlines and Airports Hope to Encourage Travel With Testing,” Adweek, October 15, 2020, https://www.adweek.com/brand-marketing/airlines-and-airports-hope-to-encourage-travel-with-testing