Switch Health and the Greater Toronto Airports Authority launch new departures COVID-19 testing service
TORONTO, July 14, 2021 /CNW/ - Switch Health and the Greater Toronto Airports Authority (GTAA) today announced that they are bringing COVID-19 testing services to Toronto Pearson. The tests, conducted by Switch Health, are an important protective layer in Pearson's award-winning Healthy Airport program and are available to both departing passengers and members of the community who are not travelling but need access to testing services. Arrivals testing continues to be required and conducted by Switch Health in partnership with the government of Canada for international arriving passengers.
In collaboration with the GTAA Healthy Airport program, Switch Health will sell COVID-19 testing services to all consumers at a new on-airport clinic located in Value Park Garage (VPG), open from 5 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily. Consumers and passengers can book tests in advance via Switch Health's booking portal: switchhealth.ca/healthyairport
Switch Health's testing will be supported by some of the most technologically advanced tools available, including AI-enabled health monitoring solutions. This will be driven by Switch Health's secure, proprietary patient portal, ASMO, which has successfully been used in the administration of over one million COVID-19 tests in Canada.
Gold standard RT-PCR COVID-19 tests will be available either through expedited 3-6 hour or standard 12-24 hour turnaround times and rapid antigen tests will be available with results in under 30 minutes. Pre-departure tests are currently required for entry into the United States and United Kingdom, as well as most other countries around the world.
The service first became available on July 12, 2021. Tests will be available through Switch Health in a traditional clinic setting on Level 3 of the VPG, as well as by drive-through on Level 1 of the VPG.
The testing service builds upon a research study conducted at Toronto Pearson earlier this year that was supported in part by funding from the National Research Council of Canada Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC IRAP). This research explored the efficacy of testing in a high-throughput, commercial environment, proving that it could be successfully operationalized at Canada's largest airport.
"Canada must be extra vigilant to continue to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and its variants, and we are doing so with a permanent onsite testing facility at Toronto Pearson Airport to deliver rapid results," said Dilian Stoyanov, Chief Executive Officer at Switch Health. "Whether Canadians are travelling abroad, coming home, working at the airport, or are visitors, we want everyone to be confident that they are safe and protected with advanced in-house testing that will set the standard for international transport hubs."
"As we work towards global pandemic recovery, it is critically important that airports provide services that enable safe, responsible travel," said Dwayne MacIntosh, Director, Corporate Safety & Security Governance, GTAA. "We undertook a significant piece of research, funded by the Government of Canada, to show that this kind of testing could be successfully operationalized in a high-throughput airport."
The Healthy Airport program is globally recognized, with Toronto Pearson being the first Canadian airport accredited under the Airports Council International (ACI) Airport Health Accreditation program. The program protects passengers and airport workers by using innovative new technology, advanced cleaning measures, and best-in-class standards to create a multilayered defense that limits the spread of COVID-19.
Switch Health has been at the forefront of Canada's fight against COVID-19, providing at-home and mobile COVID-19 testing services at airports and ports of entry across Canada.
Both Switch Health and the GTAA plan to continually adapt to meet and exceed the demands of a rapidly evolving pandemic environment, exploring new innovations to meet the needs of our passengers, employees, and the community.