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United Airlines to offer pre-flight rapid COVID-19 tests at SFO

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SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (KRON) — United Airlines is the first airline to offer COVID-19 testing at the airport for people flying to Hawaii out of San Francisco International Airport.

Flyers can take a rapid test the same day they intend to fly, or they can request a kit be sent to their home for a do-it-yourself test. The person would have to send the sample back within three days of their trip. United says the rapid test gives results in 15 minutes.

“We’ll look to quickly expand customer testing to other destinations and U.S. airports later this year,” said Toby Enqvist, Chief Customer Officer at United.

United is working with a lab to do the testing and didn’t say how much the test will cost — but the airline says it has the blessing of Hawaii officials who are currently making people quarantine for two weeks when arriving on the islands.

Last week, the governor of Hawaii said travelers who test negative for COVID-19 within 72 hours of their flight’s arrival can avoid the 14-day quarantine that Hawaii requires for anyone touching down in the state. The pre-travel testing program will start October 15.

The test must be an FDA-approved, nucleic acid amplification test (NAAT), performed using a nasal swab, and can show proof of negative test results from a CLIA certified laboratory, according to Governor David Ige.

Anyone who doesn’t take the approved COVID-19 tests will still have to comply with Hawaii’s mandatory two-week quarantine.

In October, travelers can look out for GoHealth Urgent Care’s dedicated COVID-19 testing area at SFO, available every day from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. United said travelers can schedule their testing online in advance.

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