Albany International Airport to start testing employees


ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — The Albany County Airport Authority is expanding its Smart Airport approach to the coronavirus pandemic and began testing airport employees for COVID-19 on Friday.

Albany International Airport will be the first commercial airport in the world to utilize the self-administered saliva test developed by SUNY Upstate Medical University and Quadran Biosciences.

“It’s important that these employees get tested because they interact on a regular basis with each of our passengers this is a very busy facility here at the airport,” Director of public affairs for Albany County Airport Authority, Doug Myers said. “It’s our intention of keeping this a safe airport.”

While the test isnt mandatory, it will now be available to all employees biweekly and indefinitely, Myers added that it should be available for travelers by the end of December.

“Having the availability to pick up a testing kit here at the airport, pay for it here at the airport, take it home, conduct the test, drop it in the mail and the results should be back within the 48 hours,” Myers said.

The test is a cheek and tongue swab, taking not much longer than a minute to complete.

“It unscrews and goes in here and inside of this is a stabilizing agent so this whole media become stable for quite a long time,” Vice President of Engineering for Quadrant Biosciences, Andrew Brindle said. “Then we take this back, bring it to the lab and start the chemistry to find out if COVID was in there or not.”

Brindle says it’s the same testing used for students at SUNY schools. Now as they gear towards airports, its to help with more data, numbers and give some piece of mind.

“Because so many people travel and so many people right now are afraid to travel, we are able to target the airports in order to give people the peace of mind that they need but also to understand what’s going on when people travel,” Brindle said. “Like is it spreading more frequently? Is it spreading less frequently? What is going on? And again we just need those numbers, the tests.”

Employee testing will be conducted on the lower level of Concourse-A.

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