A regional airport is using CARES Act funds to create a COVID-19 checkpoint for passengers
- Eastern Iowa Airport is implementing a COVID-19 screening for passengers using CARES Act funds.
- Flyers must submit to a health questionnaire and a temperature check before proceeding to the gate.
- Airport employees that work in the secure area will also go through the screening.
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The check-in process at one regional airport now includes a temperature check and health questionnaire.
Eastern Iowa Airport is moving forward with a plan to use some of the $22.8 million it received under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act to form a COVID-19 screening checkpoint for departing passengers.
Starting January 25, flyers will undergo the "pre-flight health screening" conducted by staff from the Mercy Medical Center in nearby Cedar Rapids, Iowa. The 10-second screening will include a temperature check and a health questionnaire to determine potential exposure to or contraction of the virus.
Passengers that register with a temperature above 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or may have been exposed to the virus will be sent to be further screened by medical staff to determine fitness to fly. Those that present no cause for concern, however, will continue on to the standard security screening.
Airport employees that work in the secure area of the terminal beyond the security checkpoint will also undergo the health screen.
Nestled between Cedar Rapids and Iowa City, Eastern Iowa Airport sees service from five major airlines including American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, United Airlines, Frontier Airlines, and Allegiant Air. Travelers can typically fly as far west as Los Angeles and as far east as Charlotte on a non-stop flight, with one-stop connections to international destinations.
All flyers will have already been asked similar health questions at check-in as most major US airlines, including those serving Cedar Rapids, now require flyers to acknowledge a health statement. Travelers affirm that they have not recently tested positive, do not have any COVID-19 symptoms, and have not come into contact with anyone that has, among other health items.
The screening planned by the airport, however, offers an in-person backup that will hopefully prevent any potential spreaders from slipping through the cracks. United Airlines passengers traveling from San Francisco to Hawaii, for example, managed to make it onto their plane after testing positive for COVID-19 while at the airport, police said.
Passengers flying to Frontier Airlines to Denver will have their temperatures taken twice as the airline also requires a temperature check before boarding.
Eastern Iowa Airport is among the only in the country taking these precautions as most measures have been left to the airlines. Plans for the program were initially crafted in July but the launch was stalled while the airport waited for approval from the Federal Aviation Administration.
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