Delta to test flight crews for COVID-19 with CVS partners

CVS Health has also run free, on-site COVID-19 rapid testing at Good Samaritan Health Center in Atlanta. MIGUEL MARTINEZ FOR THE ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION
CVS Health has also run free, on-site COVID-19 rapid testing at Good Samaritan Health Center in Atlanta. MIGUEL MARTINEZ FOR THE ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION

Airline will use rapid-response tests in flight crew lounges.

Delta Air Lines said it will test flight crews for COVID-19 in crew lounges in a partnership with CVS Health.

It’s part of Atlanta-based Delta’s plan to test all of its employees for the coronavirus through on-site testing and test kits sent to employees’ homes upon request.

Delta launched its employee testing effort in June with partnerships with the Mayo Clinic and Quest Diagnostics. Delta’s chief people officer Joanne Smith said Tuesday that there’s no one solution to testing its workforce around the world that is “always on the move.”

The new tests in crew lounges at the airline’s hubs will be rapid-response nasal swab tests for the active virus overseen by a CVS Health clinician, and will yield results in 15 minutes, according to Delta.

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In June before it began its effort to test all employees, Delta said it already had 500 employees who had tested positive for COVID-19, and that 10 employees died of the virus. At the time, the airline had about 90,000 employees; it has since shrunk its workforce to about 75,000 through buyouts and early retirements.

Delta says it aims to test all employees for a baseline understanding of the infection across the company.

As of last week, Delta said about half of its employees have been tested.

“It’s not feasible right now for everyone to take a test every time they walk out the door,” Smith said in a written statement. “We intend to use what we learn from this round of testing to make sure our re-testing program is one that continues to instill confidence among our people and with consumers about traveling with Delta.”

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Delta said employees who test positive must isolate at home for at least 10 days and that employees exposed to people with COVID-19 must stay home from work for 14 days.

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