By Alecia Reid

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Arriving soon at the Philadelphia International Airport will be COVID-19 testing. The new testing program is meant to help travelers who are leaving the region on departing flights.

Officials at PHL started looking into this a few months ago and believe the new testing site at the airport will help make travel safer for a number of passengers.

The McClains are finally on their way to Puerto Rico. They had no idea they needed to be tested for COVID-19 before flying out.

“They said you can’t come into the country without it so we had to come around, and we did get a COVID test pretty fast. And it was free because we’re old but we did lose a day of being in Puerto Rico,” Gary McClain said.

It wasn’t in time to help these lovebirds. But starting on Friday, passengers flying out of PHL have the option of getting their COVID test done there.

“It will be a home run if you have it set up here,” McClain said.

Results for the PCR test will take a few days so travelers will need to plan ahead.

“To be able to get tested before you go anywhere, I think that’s perfect,” Rasheena Hooker, from Chicago, said.

A rapid result test before getting on the flight is also available.

“At the airlines, I feel like that’s more convenient. We’re getting ready to travel out, maybe I didn’t have time before I got ready and go. More convenient, perfect,” Hooker said.

This collaboration between PHL, Jefferson Health, and Ambulnz is designed for asymptomatic passengers. The new facility is restricted to ticketed passengers and people with official business.

“This facility is really meant for those folks who are traveling by air in and out of Philadelphia as well as employees and people who use the facility in an official manner,” PHL CEO Chellie Cameron said.

The site is located in Terminal E Departures. There is complimentary parking for up to two hours in the Terminal E garage.

“I think it’s a good idea,” one man said.

Passengers are encouraged to make an appointment to ensure getting tested in the proper timeframe for their journey.


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