As large, in-person events once again fill our calendars, organizers are looking for ways to mitigate the risk of Covid-19 infection. One of the highest-percentage ways to hold safe meetings is to test everyone, regardless of vaccination status. Here are seven companies that offer on-site testing at events.
With so many large-scale events being held in Las Vegas, the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority has partnered with the University Medical Center of Southern Nevada
to provide a Covid-19 testing center by the Las Vegas Convention
Center. The center opened in January at the corner of Las Vegas
Boulevard and Elvis Presley Boulevard. With results expected within 16
to 24 hours, it allows event organizers to offer a nearby testing option
Walk-ins are welcome and appointments can be made at umcsn.com/convention.
After handling the prefight testing of UFC athletes in May 2020, ProAm Sports Medicine’s OnSiteAble
began testing attendees at events nationwide. PCR tests are available,
although they will typically do rapid antigen for events with more than
1,000 people to get results in 15 minutes.
"The people are able
to preregister before they even show up to the event so once they show
up, they’re in our system already," said James Murphy, founder and CEO
of ProAm Sports Medicine. "We test them and then the result is sent
right to their mobile device."
OnSiteAble has been used at events
like Miss Universe in 2021, which hosted 3,000 attendees. The program
had also been slated for use at pop star Adele’s residency in Las Vegas,
which anticipated 6,000 people per night. (Adele postponed that
residency during the height of the Omicron surge and new dates have yet
to be confirmed.)
When in-person and hybrid events started to return, temperature
screenings were one of the main safety protocols implemented. To avoid
staff getting too close to attendees with handheld thermometers, Prevent
offered infrared camera technology to scan temperature at a distance.
As the pandemic and event planners’ needs evolved, they phased out
temperature screening and leaned into on-site testing. Prevent has
tested more than 5,000 people at corporate events, music festivals and
"If we’ve learned anything over the past couple years it’s
that every time we think we’re safe and in the clear, [Covid] rears its
ugly head and comes back," said John Harris, founder of Prevent. "We just want to do our part and help events happen safely."
In the days leading up to an event, Proven
will send tests to the homes of all attendees. It comes with a QR code,
which logs them into a live proctoring session with a health-care
professional. Results are then uploaded to their Proven Pass account as
well as sent to their email. The planner is given access to a database
to see how many attendees have been tested before traveling to the event
and how many more need to be tested on-site. Proven can test up to
100,000 people per event.
"[Testing] shouldn’t be an
interruption, it should just be a way to stay safe. And shifting that
perspective is the most important thing in Covid testing right now,"
said JP Robinson,
chief marketing officer of Proven. "People have testing fatigue, so we
want to give it to them in a way that is not fatiguing."
CVS Health launched Return Ready in 2020 to help employers safely bring back employees to the workplace. The program now includes Return Ready for Events, which offers a customizable on-site testing solution for in-person events. From one-day meetings to multi-day conferences, CVS Health professionals will set up, manage and maintain the Covid-19 testing for the entire event. Bulk ordering of at-home kits is also available. Return Ready has been used for industry conferences, major sporting events, film productions and more.
"As we continue our fight against the pandemic, we know prompt diagnosis through measures such as on-site testing continues to play a critical role in helping to limit the spread of Covid-19," said Return Ready senior vice president James Margiotta.
After introducing the first FDA-authorized at-home PCR test, Vault Health now offers customizable testing solutions for in-person events. Providing tests, clinicians, PPE, and even tables and chairs if needed, they can turn any space into a Covid-19 testing site. Event organizers are then given access to a dashboard where they can see attendees’ results. Vault can also provide guidelines on best practices for large events, from identifying the best testing location to efficient entryways to communicating the testing strategy with attendees.
"If you don’t know what your Covid needs are, we’ll help you figure that out for what you’re planning," said Dan Feehan, vice president of expansion for Vault Health. "Do you need to track vaccination records? We have software that can do that. Do you need on-site testing ahead of an event? We could do that. Do you need tests sent to people’s homes? We could do that, too."
At the beginning of the pandemic, it could take more than a week to get Covid-19 test results. Looking for a way to speed up the process, CEO Gary Frazier created Worksite Labs, a mobile laboratory that tests and processes results on-site. They started by testing incoming inmates at jails and have since expanded to travelers and attendees.
"When the events industry started to open back up and offer in-person events again, we started to get outreach from folks who are just looking for solutions and looking for advice and guidance on how they could open back up and open safely," said Caitlin McNichol, marketing director of Worksite Labs.
Standard PCR results take no more than 24 hours, although most times only take six to eight hours. They also do rapid PCRs for events, which produce results in about an hour.