By Staff Reports
(Victor Valley)– A drive-thru COVID-19 testing site opened at Ontario International Airport (ONT) just in time for the holiday travel season as airport officials forecast that approximately 280,000 passengers will travel through the Southern California gateway.
Testing is available in parking lot 3 between terminals 2 and 4 fromo 7 a.m.-9 p.m. seven days a week. Tests are administered by Covid Clinic, a Southern California-based non-profit which operates testing sites in California and Arizona. ONT is Covid Clinic’s 24th location.
Rapid tests with results available in as few as 20 minutes are among a variety of antigen and antibody tests offered. Rapid test specimens are processed on-site while others are sent to local third-party laboratories with results generally reported in two to four days.
“The availability of COVID-19 testing adds a new level of service and convenience to the Ontario airport experience,” said Mark Thorpe, chief executive officer of the Ontario International Airport Authority. “It is our hope that on-site testing administered in the comfort of a passenger vehicle will provide peace of mind to our customers, guests and airport employees, as well as any of our neighbors who want to be tested.”
Reservations for testing at ONT, and more detailed test information and pricing, is available here. Patients may be able to receive reimbursement from their health insurance provider for all or a portion of their COVID-19 test.
Thanksgiving holiday travel spanning 11 days from Friday, November 20th through Monday, November 30th is expected to bring more than 100,000 air travelers through ONT, based on current airline schedules, while more than 180,000 are expected to depart and arrive at ONT during the winter holidays from Thursday, December 17th through Sunday, January 3rd. The total number of passengers expected in the coming weeks is 60% of the traveler volume estimated for the period last year.
Surges in COVID-19 infections across the country, government orders to pause restarts and guidance from public health officials to limit family gatherings could cause holiday travel volumes to fluctuate even more, however, as most passengers are purchasing airline tickets within 30 days of departure, Thorpe cautioned.
Nonetheless, as air travel shows signs of gradual resurgence, ONT has recorded six straight months of traffic growth since reaching its low point in April when passenger levels declined by 93%.
Ontario’s recovery ranks first among airports in California and third nationally, having regained roughly 50% of passenger volume compared to a year ago.
International carrier Volaris initiated nonstop service from ONT to its Mexico City base earlier this month. Delta Air Lines, which resumed daily, nonstop service to its Atlanta hub in July, began twice daily, nonstop flights to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport in October. Southwest Airlines restarted its Chicago Midway International Airport route while United Airlines resumed flying to Houston’s George H.W. Bush Intercontinental Airport in August.
Denver-based Frontier Airlines announced in recent days that it will add or restart flights to seven popular U.S. destinations to its ONT schedule between February and May in 2021.
Ontario airport continues intensive efforts to keep passengers and guests safe while in the airport and to prevent the spread of the coronavirus by frequently sanitizing restrooms, gate areas and high-touch surfaces with highly effective disinfectant, and utilizing security screening trays treated with powerful antimicrobial technology.
Ontario requires appropriate face covers for all customers, visitors and employees. Passengers are urged to wash hands with soap and water frequently and use the many hand sanitizing stations that have been added throughout ONT terminals. Vending machines including personal protective equipment such as face covers, hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes are also located in passenger terminals.
“The pandemic has impacted life in every aspect, but we strive every day with our airline partners to take steps to reassure passengers that they can travel safely,” Thorpe said.