Officials at Los Angeles International Airport didn’t have a clue that one of the agents assigned to screen passengers for coronavirus was infected until they read it in the news. Now, a second screener tests positive. The CDC dropped the ball, the chief executive of the Los Angeles airport insists. LAX is safe, airport officials claim, but people aren’t flying through there.
No alert about infected screener
At a press conference on Friday, the Interim CEO of Los Angeles World Airport made a disturbing announcement. LAX officials didn’t know one of their airport screeners was infected with 2019-nCoV until they read it in the news.
According to Justin Erbacci, the first time they heard that “a health screener at the airport tested positive for coronavirus,” was “through a press release Wednesday and not from the Centers for Disease Control.” Oh, we forgot to tell you that?
Erbacci asserts that the same officials from Atlanta’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, who they had been working with since late January, “told the airport about eight passengers who tested positive for the virus, but not the screener.” Oops.
There isn’t a single shred of data available to indicate “how many travelers have been screened by CDC or which types of travelers are receiving a health screening.” The “media relations person at CDC” isn’t answering the phone.
Now there’s a second infected screener
On Friday, the Director of Public Health for Los Angeles County, Barbara Ferrer, “confirmed that a second health screener tested positive for the virus.” The CDC is “handling an investigation as to how they contracted it.” The LA County infection count is up to 13.
The second screener worked directly with the first screener who tested positive on Wednesday. Eight infected passengers from Northern Italy were processed through LAX and could be the source of infection to the screeners. Authorities now must track down anybody who may have had contact with any of these 10 people.
Despite the fact that two of those trusted to check travelers for the deadly virus were spreading it around instead, Erbacci maintains his airport is safe. “We are doing all we can to protect our guests and our employees.”
Screenings to happen ‘away from public areas’
Erbacci assures the public that the airport is working closely with health officials “to make sure screenings happen away from public areas.” If any passenger is “deemed at risk or given quarantine orders,” They’ll be comfortably “held in isolation while awaiting transport to a medical facility or quarantine location.”
In the past week, the airport staff “installed more than 250 hand sanitizer stations throughout the terminals with 300 more expected within the week.” That should solve the crisis. “More than 550 hand sanitizers have been distributed to employees as well as desktop sanitizers for their office building.”
The entire facility will be fogged with disinfectant. “Custodial crews are doing hourly deep cleanings on terminal bathrooms and other areas such as hand rails, door handles and other hard surfaces.” Crews will be running around all over the place “sanitizing automated touch pads and other kiosks hourly.”