COVID Testing Kiosks Are Coming to LAX

Francesca Billington

Francesca Billington is a freelance reporter. Prior to that, she was a general assignment reporter for dot.LA and has also reported for KCRW, the Santa Monica Daily Press and local publications in New Jersey. She graduated from Princeton in 2019 with a degree in anthropology.

COVID Testing Kiosks Are Coming to LAX
Photo by Mufid Majnun on Unsplash

You'll soon be able to take a rapid COVID-19 test before boarding a plane at Los Angeles International Airport.

Two design companies — one known for transforming shipping containers into pop-up businesses and homes, another that focuses on an eco-friendly approach to architecture — will erect modular COVID testing center at LAX by Nov. 1. New Jersey-based Clarity Labs will eventually staff those sites with technicians.


Details of the labs are still unclear. A spokesperson for LAX confirmed the deal, but neither company nor the airport would immediately comment on it. The news comes as the airline industry — reeling from the virus with layoffs and plummeting passenger bookings — is looking for ways to assure passenger safety.

Earlier this week, United Airlines announced it would be the first U.S. airline to test travelers for the virus, beginning with a flight from San Francisco to Hawaii on October 15. German airline Lufthansa will also start providing tests in October to passengers on international flights.

The converted shipping containers will hold federally certified labs — so-called testing pods — that can return test results in two hours, according to a statement announcing the news. It is unclear when they will be open for the public.

"We are proud to work with LAX to help bring passengers and staff a greater sense of security and safety when it comes to air travel," said Paul Galvin, Chairman and CEO of SG Blocks in a statement.

Lab technicians will use nasal swab tests that the FDA has approved for emergency use. The tests are produced and distributed by South Korea-based company OSANG Healthcare.

Unlike antibody tests, which the FDA does not consider sufficient to diagnose the virus, the lab will use a molecular diagnostic test to check whether travelers have an active infection.

This won't be the first shipping container-turned-lab created by SG Blocks. Earlier this month, the company announced a joint venture with Clarity Labs to launch rapidly produced testing centers under the name "Clarity Modular Lab Solutions" for use in underserved hot spots, according to a statement released by the company.

While the partnership with Clarity is focusing on COVID testing, the venture will eventually offer screening for a range of illnesses including cancer and swine flu, according to the statement.

"The CMLS joint venture is designed to provide fast, accurate and reliable point of care testing that has been elusive for the poor and working classes," the company said in early September. "The vision behind CMLS is to reduce barriers to diagnostic testing to enable the best possible medical outcomes. The labs are expected to be located in high risk areas, densely populated or regional hubs for rural U.S."

United is offering their customers a choice to take either a rapid test at the airport or a self-collected, mail-in test 72 hours prior to the trip. The tests, developed by Abbott Laboratories, can produce results in 15 minutes, according to a statement from United.

New York-based design and construction firm SG Blocks, which was created in 2007, has made containers for a slew of national chain businesses. It's built the first Starbucks drive-through in Salt Lake City and a mobile showroom for Mini Cooper. They've also used shipping containers to build homes in the Hamptons.

Shares of SG Blocks soared after the announcement.

The structures will be designed with architecture and industrial planning firm Grimshaw, which is based in London with offices in Los Angeles.

https://twitter.com/frosebillington
francesca@dot.la

Subscribe to our newsletter to catch every headline.

Cadence

Genies Wants To Help Creators Build ‘Avatar Ecosystems’

Christian Hetrick

Christian Hetrick is dot.LA's Entertainment Tech Reporter. He was formerly a business reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer and reported on New Jersey politics for the Observer and the Press of Atlantic City.

Genies Wants To Help Creators Build ‘Avatar Ecosystems’

When avatar startup Genies raised $150 million in April, the company released an unusual message to the public: “Farewell.”

The Marina del Rey-based unicorn, which makes cartoon-like avatars for celebrities and aims to “build an avatar for every single person on Earth,” didn’t go under. Rather, Genies announced it would stay quiet for a while to focus on building avatar-creation products.

Genies representatives told dot.LA that the firm is now seeking more creators to try its creation tools for 3D avatars, digital fashion items and virtual experiences. On Thursday, the startup launched a three-week program called DIY Collective, which will mentor and financially support up-and-coming creatives.

Read moreShow less

Here's What To Expect At LA Tech Week

Christian Hetrick

Christian Hetrick is dot.LA's Entertainment Tech Reporter. He was formerly a business reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer and reported on New Jersey politics for the Observer and the Press of Atlantic City.

Here's What To Expect At LA Tech Week

LA Tech Week—a weeklong showcase of the region’s growing startup ecosystem—is coming this August.

The seven-day series of events, from Aug. 15 through Aug. 21, is a chance for the Los Angeles startup community to network, share insights and pitch themselves to investors. It comes a year after hundreds of people gathered for a similar event that allowed the L.A. tech community—often in the shadow of Silicon Valley—to flex its muscles.

From fireside chats with prominent founders to a panel on aerospace, here are some highlights from the roughly 30 events happening during LA Tech Week, including one hosted by dot.LA.

Read moreShow less

EV Startup INDIEV Links With Foxconn To Produce SUVs

Samson Amore

Samson Amore is a reporter for dot.LA. He holds a degree in journalism from Emerson College and previously covered technology and entertainment for TheWrap and reported on the SoCal startup scene for the Los Angeles Business Journal. Send tips or pitches to samsonamore@dot.la and find him on Twitter @Samsonamore.

EV Startup INDIEV Links With Foxconn To Produce SUVs
Photo Courtesy of IndiEV

INDIEV, a startup based in Vernon, announced this week it will partner with Taiwanese tech conglomerate Foxconn to build its first prototypes of its upcoming electric SUV, nicknamed the INDI One.

The debut makes it the seventh consumer electric vehicle company to enter Los Angeles’s crowded cohort of green carmakers.

Read moreShow less
RELATEDEDITOR'S PICKS
LA TECH JOBS
interchangeLA
Trending