holiday travel

Traveling for Thanksgiving? These NYC Airports Offer Free Rapid COVID Tests

Testing options are available to travelers departing or arriving in the New York City area

NBC Universal, Inc.

Millions of holiday travelers will hit the roads, rails and skies this week for Thanksgiving, many leaving town for the November holiday for the first time in two years thanks to COVID-19 vaccines.

Despite the widely accessible vaccines and their newly approved booster doses, worries of a winter spike in cases has health officials sounding early alarms for Americans.

The country's worst spike in cases followed the Christmas season last year, peaking at more than 250,000 per day on Jan. 11, according to CNBC. Reported deaths also reached a peak in early 2021 of roughly 3,400 per day.

Long lines and booked appointments are getting some New Yorkers eager to grab their COVID booster days before the Thanksgiving holiday. NBC New York's Adam Harding reports.

Virus testing continues to be a key asset in the fight to slow the spread of COVID-19. Airports in New York City, among other major transit hubs, have free rapid testing available to travelers.

City-run rapid testing is available Monday through Sunday, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., at LaGuardia Airport and John F. Kennedy Airport. (Testing is closed on Thanksgiving). Testing at LaGuardia is located in the Terminal B parking lot, and next to the Terminal 5 Airtrain Station at JFK Airport.

Other rapid testing locations across the city include Times Square and the Station Island Ferry Terminal. And across the water, Newark Airport has testing options in Terminal B and C.

On average, more than 6,000 people a day are now testing positive for COVID-19 in New York, rates last seen in the spring. The number of New Yorkers out of every 100,000 population testing positive is up 57% versus two weeks prior.

Hospitalizations are on the rise again, as are deaths -- just like a year ago, though at a much lower level thanks to vaccinations. As of Sunday, the state said 78% of all New Yorkers ages 18 and up were fully vaccinated, and 66% of all residents when including children.

Millions of travelers are already airborne, heading to their holiday destinations earlier than usual in an effort to beat the rush. NBC New York's Anjali Hemphill reports.
Copyright NBC New York
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