Chicago COVID testing coming to O'Hare, Midway airports

ByJohn Garcia and ABC 7 Chicago Digital Team WLS logo
Wednesday, December 9, 2020
COVID-19 testing coming to O'Hare, Midway airports
COVID-19 testing will soon be available to travelers at O'Hare and Midway airports, the Chicago Department of Aviation announced Tuesday.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- COVID-19 testing will soon be available to travelers at O'Hare and Midway airports.

The Chicago Department of Aviation announced Tuesday that both airports will offer PCR tests and rapid antigen tests for travelers.

"The Chicago Department of Aviation is proud to present the most comprehensive COVID-19 testing program of any airport system in the nation," CDA Commissioner Jamie L. Rhee said. "With two types of tests available at both airports, as well as our strict adherence to public health guidelines requiring face coverings and social distancing throughout the terminals, we aim to provide the traveling public and the wider airport community with a safe environment and peace of mind."

RELATED: Illinois coronavirus testing: Where to get tested for COVID-19 in Illinois, Chicago area

Air travel numbers are still down from normal because of travel restrictions and fear of the virus, but officials hope the new testing facilities will ease those concerns.

"That allows us to work with our airline partners and prevent those with COVID from getting on airplanes," said Tamara Mahal, with the city's Department of Aviation.

The testing program will be operated by Doctors Test Centers in connection with Simple Laboratories, is scheduled to begin later in December.

O'Hare will have a walk-up, pre security testing site in terminal two as well as a drive-up site in a remote parking lot. A walk-up testing site will be set up at Midway outside the CTA station and the terminal.

PCR testing should have results back in 24 to 48 hours, and rapid testing with results available in about 20 minutes.

"If that's what is gonna get us back to normal and flying again... I'm all for anything that keeps things moving," said Janet Wojcikiewicz, a passenger from the south suburbs.

In order to get tested you'll have to show proof you are traveling or work at the airport.

"I think it might be for the people wanting to get tested so it's right there in their face so they'll go ahead and do it," said Steven Williams, before he boarded a flight to Los Angeles.

Aviation officials said they are not trying to circumvent the CDC's advice against traveling, but they know more people will fly during the holidays and want to make the airport more safe and convenient for travelers and employees.

"We view this as providing a vital Public Health Service to our passengers so we can increase the feeling good of safety and get them flying again," said Mahal.

Doctors Test Centers is looking to hire more than 100 people and those looking to apply can visit DTC's website.