ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Albany International Airport has entered a partnership with the State University of New York (SUNY) to begin testing airport employees and travelers for COVID-19.
SUNY will begin testing airport employees on a regular, voluntary basis at no cost starting December 11. Passenger testing will reportedly be made available for around $30 beginning at the end of December in order to give travelers the option to test prior to their flight or just after their return.
“SUNY has led the way in developing solutions to combatting COVID-19 from producing face shields to providing the healthcare workforce to Upstate Medical University’s state of the art testing approved by the FDA,” said SUNY Chancellor Jim Malatras. “It demonstrates the power of public higher education to be a critical resource to tackle the challenges we face. My thanks to Upstate Medical President Dewan and his team’s ongoing efforts to combat this virus through testing analysis, vaccine research, and providing healthcare during this monumental time, as well as CEO Calderone’s collaboration to expand our reach to help the employees who handle the operations and ensure the safety of their travelers. We’re in this together.”
Arriving passengers will reportedly have the option to buy a take-home kit with instructions on how to test themselves four days after their flight and mail the test in to Upstate Medical for analysis.
Albany County Executive Daniel P. McCoy said, “We know how important testing is, which is why I worked with partners to bring walk-up testing to underserved neighborhoods and to the Times Union Center, all while working with partners at local colleges to expand student testing. Increased testing means we are better able to pinpoint where the virus is spreading and to identify and notify others who have come into contact with someone who has tested positive. By bringing this to airport employees, we are testing people on the front lines who are interacting with travelers and again, working diligently to stop the spread of COVID-19.”
Albany International Airport will reportedly complete construction of a testing site this week and staff the facility to provide tests to employees. Tests will be handed out and employees can administer it themselves on site.
The expansion is made possible by SUNY Upstate’s pooled surveillance testing protocols with a reported capacity of 200,000 tests per week. The pooled testing combines a group of people’s saliva into one collective sample that is then tested. A negative test means that all 10-25 people in the group are presumed at the time to be free of COVID-19.
A positive test means that each individual sample would then need to be retested in order to find which samples were positive for the virus. Since only one saliva sample needs to be submitted, the testing process is much quicker which expands testing capacity.