Iowa airport to conduct mandatory COVID screenings for all departing passengers

Airports will be able to administer COVID-19 health screenings for passengers and airline personnel, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced. 

An airport in Iowa will become one of the first to do so when it rolls out a COVID-19 health screening next week. The screenings will begin at the Eastern Iowa Airport on Jan. 25, as part of the Travel Well Program, in partnership with Mercy Medical Center and Mercy Care Business Health Solutions in Cedar Rapids.

Under the program, initially announced in July, all outward-bound passengers leaving on a flight, and employees working past security checkpoints, will undergo the 10-second screening, which includes temperature checks and answering a series of health questions. Anyone with a fever above 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit will be mandated to have another screening by healthcare professionals. 

“The Travel Well program will provide an efficient approach to screening passengers and employees,” Marty Lenss, director for the airport, said in a statement posted to the facility’s website in July. “Mercy established the protocols at their hospital and clinics as part of its COVID-19 response to ensure the safety of its staff and patients.”

The health screening program was created based on guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and is “in line” with recommendations from US Departments of Transportation, Homeland Security and Health and Human Services, the announcement said.

The FAA originally gave airports the go-ahead to conduct COVID-19 screenings on departing or arriving passengers in Dec. 2020, as part of other efforts to help in “minimizing the spread of COVID-19 and ensuring the recovery of the air transportation system.”