Flying into or out of Tampa? You can get tested for COVID-19 at the airportBayCare launches pilot program for October

Are you unknowingly carrying COVID along with your luggage?

Tampa International Airport is partnering with BayCare Health System to answer that question throughout the month of October. The first of its kind in America, the pilot program features two types of COVID-19 tests. Both departing and arriving passengers are eligible to be tested until Oct. 31.

“Our effort doesn’t limit testing to a single airside, airline, or destination,” says Veronica Cintron, VP of communications for Tampa International Airport.

Those who wish to be tested need not make an appointment; the service is walk-in only and will be available seven days a week from 8 a.m.-2 p.m. All passengers who are flying or have flown within three days are eligible; simply show proof of travel.

Passengers can choose between the rapid antigen test and the Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test. PCR, also known as the nasal swab test, is recognized as revealing the most accurate results and is widely accepted by the international community. Located inside the main terminal, the PCR COVID-19 test will cost $125, the antigen test $57.

To travelers, the allure of a test administrated at the airport is the clean bill of health a negative PCR test indicates. Fly to a destination that demands proof that newcomers are not infected with COVID-19, and lack of such proof could result in quarantine. A negative PCR test offers freedom from such restrictions. That PCR test yields expected results in 48 hours; passengers should take the test 3 days before departing as an extra precaution.

The antigen test offers further peace of mind for those about to embark or those who have recently arrived in Tampa. In a mere 15 minutes, a person will know their result. It is most accurate within five days of symptom onset.

“This is an important step to help revive our industry here in Florida and beyond,” Citron says.

Learn more about Tampa International Airport and Baycare's COVID-19 testing.


Read more articles by Amy Hammond.

Amy Hammond is a freelance writer and author of children’s books that encourage the next generation to attend college. When not indoctrinating youth about the necessity of higher education, she enjoys exploring the paradise that is her St. Petersburg home. She holds a degree in Public Relations from the University of Florida and a Masters in Secondary English Education from the University of South Florida. Her work has appeared in such venues as the Tampa Bay Times. Children’s Book Titles by Amy Hammond include: When I Grow Up, I’ll Be a Gator; When I Grow Up, I’ll Be a ‘Nole; When I Grow Up, I’ll Be a Bull; When I Grow Up, I’m Bama Bound; When I Grow Up, I’ll Be a Tiger.