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Coronavirus Testing Starts At Boston Logan Airport

An overhead view of the XpresCheck COVID testing facility in Terminal E at Logan Airport on Wednesday. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)
An overhead view of the XpresCheck COVID testing facility in Terminal E at Logan Airport on Wednesday. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

Travelers will soon be able to get tested for the coronavirus at Boston's Logan Airport.

Health and wellness company XpresSpa Group is opening a testing facility Wednesday in Terminal E, according to company CEO Doug Satzman.

"It helps create a safer environment and reduces risk," Satzman said. "Testing is not the only answer. It's just one of the important pieces of the puzzle."

Doug Satzman, CEO of XpresSpa Group, explains the new COVID testing facility at Logan Airport on Wednesday morning. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)
Doug Satzman, CEO of XpresSpa Group, explains the new COVID testing facility at Logan Airport on Wednesday morning. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

Testing will be available to airport and airline workers first, and will then be available to all travelers in a couple of weeks, according to Satzman.

XpresSpa's testing facility — called "XpresCheck" — is located in the arrivals section of Terminal E and will offer three types of coronavirus tests: a rapid molecular test; a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test — the now familiar nasal swab -- and a blood antibody test.

Those who are tested using the PCR test or blood antibody test can expect results in 1-3 days and a cost of $75. Results for the rapid molecular test, which costs $200 upfront, would come back within 15 minutes, Satzman said. Travelers can schedule a test ahead of time online or walk up and get a test.

Since the facility is located before the security check, travelers going through other terminals could make their way to the international terminal to get tested. The facility will be able to process about 400 tests a day, according to Satzman.

"We’re pleased to offer this service as a convenient option for passengers to comply with the Commonwealth’s travel order,” Massport spokeswoman Jennifer Mehigan said in a statement.

Medical assistant Aneka Gopaulsingh removes a swab from its packaging to conduct a nasal swab test on XpresCheck project manager Julian Bernstein during a demonstration Wednesday morning. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)
Medical assistant Aneka Gopaulsingh removes a swab from its packaging to conduct a nasal swab test on XpresCheck project manager Julian Bernstein during a demonstration Wednesday morning. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

Massachusetts' travel order requires those coming into the state to quarantine for 14 days or to have a negative coronavirus test result. And since a test is only a snapshot in time, travelers are still urged to follow other guidelines to stop the spread of the virus — including wearing a mask, washing hands and maintaining at least a six-foot distance from others.

Some experts worry this kind of testing could provide a false sense of security. They point out that some tests are more accurate than others, and it is possible for a person exposed to COVID-19 to test negative, only to have viral levels surge and become infectious within the next few days.

Medical assistant Aneka Gopaulsingh preforms a nasal swab test on a fellow employee at Logan Airport. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)
Medical assistant Aneka Gopaulsingh preforms a nasal swab test on a fellow employee at Logan Airport. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

This will be the first testing facility at Boston Logan Airport, and the company's third airport testing facility nationwide. XpresSpa Group, which normally offers travelers massages, manicures and other spa services at its airport outposts, already operates two coronavirus testing facilities at JFK International Airport in New York and Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey.

It's unclear how air travel will rebound, especially as communities across the country see new spikes in cases. Air travel drastically declined due the coronavirus pandemic, leading airlines to cut flights and causing budget challenges for the Massachusetts Port Authority. U.S. air travel recently surpassed one million travelers for the first time since March. That's a bright spot for the air travel industry ahead the usually busy holiday season.

XpresSpa plans to operate its testing facility at Logan Airport for a couple of years, according to Satzman.

This article was originally published on October 28, 2020.

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Zeninjor Enwemeka Twitter Reporter
Zeninjor Enwemeka is a reporter who covers business, tech and culture as part of WBUR's Bostonomix team, which focuses on the innovation economy.

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