COVID-19 rapid testing being tried out on passengers at YVR; study a first in Canada
VANCOUVER -- Some passengers passing through the Vancouver International Airport will have the option as of Friday of taking part in a COVID-19 rapid testing study.
The airport announced a joint study with WestJet, in which passengers taking domestic flights through the airline will have the option to participate.
The airport says the voluntary testing for domestic passengers is the first of its kind in Canada.
In a news release, YVR says travellers who'd like to take part should go to WestJet's domestic check-in area.
Participants will be asked to register, give informed consent, be tested, and then get their results. It's open to all British Columbians aged 19 to 80, provided they're flying WestJet. They also cannot have tested positive for the novel coronavirus in the last 90 days, and must be flying domestically.
They can only be tested on the day of travel, and the testing station will only be open Monday to Friday during peak morning hours.
The rapid antigen test can give results within 15 to 20 minutes, YVR said, "making them a feasible option for study in the live airport environment."
The airport said a positive test result doesn't necessarily equate to a medical diagnosis. Those who've tested positive will be required to be tested using currently approved diagnostic testing methods, which are already being used across Canada.
Those guests will not be able to continue on to their destination, but WestJet will rebook or cancel their flights at no charge, YVR said.
Anyone who tests negative will be able to fly out, but is advised they should still follow requirements including wearing a mask.
A rapid testing pilot is already underway in Calgary, but that airport's pilot program, which launched earlier this month, is for Canadians returning on international flights.
In Calgary, those who've flown in and tested negative when they arrived can reduce their mandatory two-week quarantine.
Results of the YVR study, which is being conducted by the University of British Columbia and Providence Health Care, will be shared with public health officials.