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Demand for COVID testing at airport triples ahead of holidays, plan your trip accordingly

If you’re preparing to take a trip for the holidays and looking for a COVID test you might run into some delays. 

News Channel 3’s Madison Weil spoke with staff members at Covid Clinic, the pop-up testing site located at the Palm Springs International Airport. 

“The lines were already backed up all the way to the street for hours,” said Kat Meadnis, Senior Regional Manager Inland Empire, Covid Clinic, describing their clinic earlier this week. 

Meadnis says demand for testing at the airport has tripled heading into the holidays. While they have brought in more staff to keep up and reduce wait times, she urges people to plan ahead. 

If you are planning to get a test the same day as your flight, Meadnis recommends arriving four hours before your flight takes off. Even with a rapid test, results could take two hours or more because of demand. 

Better yet, they say get your test the day before you need it to fly to reduce stress and save time. 

“They said to come in the early afternoon...it’s better,” said Sheila Hall, a passenger traveling to Vancouver, Canada.  

Hall added her best tip for other travelers this week: read your airline and destination’s COVID requirements carefully and check which specific test result you might need to get on board. 

“It’s just such a hassle...we’ve talked to a lot of people coming through customs. They’re saying people are coming in and got the wrong test,” said Hall. 

While the location and turnaround time make the airport test clinic convenient, it can be expensive depending on your insurance. 

There are other testing options for travelers such as county-run sites or local pharmacies. But wherever you go, it’s recommended you make an appointment online first or be prepared to wait. 

“We are in the midst of a surge…just give yourself time,” said Meadnis. 

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Madison Weil

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