HUGE: Medical screener at LAX airport tests positive for coronavirus

WASHINGTON — A medical professional who conducted passenger screenings at Los Angeles International Airport tested positive for the coronavirus late Tuesday , according to the Department of Homeland Security and an internal email obtained by NBC News.

The person last worked screening air travelers for illness on Feb. 21, DHS said in a statement, which also said the medical professional had worn the proper protective gear while working. The internal email described the person as a “contract medical screener” for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The email also said “these screeners are predominantly assigned to the CDC in-transit lounge and a few support jetway screening on direct flights from China.”

In its statement, DHS said: “Late last night, DHS headquarters was alerted to a situation where one of our contracted medical professionals conducting screenings at LAX international airport had tested positive for COVID-19, also known as the coronavirus. This individual is currently under self-quarantine at home with mild symptoms and under medical supervision. Their immediate family is also under home quarantine.”

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According to DHS, the person began to exhibit cold-like symptoms Saturday and visited a primary care doctor Sunday. The person was tested for COVID-19, which came back positive Tuesday.

The person’s last shift at LAX was Feb. 21, more than a week before the appearance of symptoms. According to the internal email, the screener worked at LAX from Feb. 14 to 21 and became symptomatic on Feb. 29.

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