PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -- In a press briefing on Wednesday afternoon, Governor Doug Ducey announced COVID-19 testing sites would be added to three Arizona airports.
"As more snowbirds arrive and holidays visitors travel through Arizona, many are entering through the airport," Ducey said. "It's the gateway to Arizona."
The governor says he has asked Dr. Cara Christ to work with Phoenix Sky Harbor, Phoenix-Mesa Gateway, and the Tucson International Airport. "This will allow incomers to get tested immediately with quick turnaround," he said.
The exact turnaround time is unclear, but a spokesperson for the governor's office tells Arizona's Family they hope to see results faster than 72 hours in many cases. While details are still limited, the Arizona Department of Health Services says the plan is for PCR testing. It will be voluntary for everyone who is flying.
"If it's a PCR test, it's more reliable," said Dr. Shad Marvasti, with the University of Arizona College of Medicine in Phoenix. "But a negative test result by itself again it's just one snapshot in time."
The airport testing is a step in the right direction, Dr. Marvasti thinks, but it could give people a false sense of security. We still need to mask up and stay physically distanced from our loved ones. If travelers do get a COVID-19 test, he says you should probably plan on quarantining or isolating until you get the results.
A spokesperson for Sky Harbor says it has a plan in place to begin coronavirus testing "thorough one of its concessionaires later this month." Details should be released this week.
The Tucson International Airport released its plan just prior to the governor's announcement. COVID-19 testing there will start on November 20. The airport is partnering with the county health department and Paradigm Laboratories. It says travelers should get results within 72 hours.
As of Wednesday afternoon, Phoenix Mesa-Gateway says it has not heard anything yet on the plan but looks forward to hearing from state health officials. It is ready to work with them and to start, a spokesperson said in an e-mail.
Governor Doug Ducey's office also says there will be additional messaging at the airports about Arizona's guidance when it comes to COVID-19 and other options to get testing.