Ford Airport serves as COVID-19 testing site

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The airport’s economy lot will serve as the site for both rapid antigen tests and molecular PCR tests. Courtesy Vos Glass

The Gerald R. Ford International Airport is one of the first airports in the nation to serve as a COVID-19 testing site.

In partnership with TACKL Health, a company that provides full-service workplace health and COVID-19 solutions, the airport’s economy lot will serve as the site for both rapid antigen tests, which provide results in 15 minutes, and molecular PCR tests, which provide results in 24-48 hours.

TACKL Health also is partnering with Grand Rapids-based NxGen MDx for lab testing.

“As we head deeper into the holiday season, we hope this service will give community members greater peace of mind before traveling or visiting loved ones,” said Stephen Clark, director of business development for the Gerald R. Ford International Airport Authority. “With so many test sites in West Michigan overloaded, this new site should help increase testing capabilities, especially for those who might not otherwise qualify.

“The site is open to all in the community, not just those traveling through the Ford Airport. For our passengers, we hope the tests will let them fly more confidently. We look forward to partnering with TACKL to offer this service to the community.”

The drive-up testing is offered from 4 a.m.-8 p.m. and no appointment is needed. Individuals do not need to have COVID-19 symptoms or doctor referral. Travelers who are visiting international countries may be required to take a PCR molecular test before entry.

Individuals who are taking the test must fill out an intake form using a QR code. A technician will be available at the testing site for those who are unable to access the form or need assistance.

“We know our business community is anticipating a return to international travel in the coming year, so having resources at the airport to make their journey easier will be critical in the coming months,” Clark said. “Armed with test results, travelers will be able to board a flight in West Michigan with the confidence they can meet screening requirements in the country of their final destination.”

The rapid antigen test is $75, the molecular PCR is $125 and both tests are $160. TACKL Health does not currently accept health insurance.

“We couldn’t be more thankful to the entire team at Gerald R. Ford International Airport,” said Lauren Hetzel, TACKL’s vice president for business development. “From our first conversation, the airport expressed its heartfelt desire to help as many people in the community as possible.”

TACKL currently is working with Cleveland Hopkins International Airport, Pittsburg International Airport and other airports to launch similar testing sites.

“Our goal at TACKL Health has always been to help businesses continue to operate safely,” Hetzel said. “Through this partnership, we’re able to accomplish even more than that. From the families who can safely reunite and connect with their loved ones to the person who can return confidently to work knowing they’re COVID-19 free, it’s the human aspect that makes this endeavor with the airport truly meaningful on multiple levels.”

For more information on the testing site, visit tacklhealth.com/grr.

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