Rapid COVID-19 testing sites in Cleveland for NFL players, prospects and fans set up during 2021 Draft

NFL Draft

Cleveland, Ohio (WJW) — Tony Pantina is a chauffeur for American Limousine here in Cleveland, transporting NFL executives, players and prospects to and from Hopkins Airport and locations in and out of downtown.

“As of the past couple of days, it’s been really busy,” Pantina said.

Tony was one of hundreds getting tested for COVID-19 Wednesday, at a rapid-testing site inside the Huntington Convention Center.

Pantina said, “First things first, it’s for everyone’s health. Not just mine alone, but for the players and everybody else we come in contact with every day.”

The NFL hired BioReference Laboratories to run the testing site and two others: one inside the Hilton downtown and the other near the newly constructed draft stage, the epicenter of the four-day event.

BioReference CFO Kevin Feeley said, “We continue to be really impressed with the NFL‘s comprehensive health and safety programs that includes testing, that includes contact tracing and really a number of behavioral protocols.”

Since this past Saturday, roughly 5,000 people have passed through the rapid testing site. Bio reference says they are prepared to test up to 1,000 people a day, through Sunday.

“The false positive rate on the technology we are running, it’s a reality but very low, less than one-percent, and we’ve got protocols to rerun those tests including the ability to triage the rapid test to our lab based pcr technology,” said Feeley.

As for contact tracing, the NFL’s medical team will be in charge of that undertaking.

Feeley added, “They acknowledge that to get fans back to see these exciting events, it takes a mission to provide and health and safety environment and we’re happy to help them in that mission.”

As for chauffeur Tony Pantina, his COVID rapid test came back negative, and he was back on the road in less than an hour. “We might have to come here every day but whatever we gotta do to make everybody safe.”

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.