TSA agents at Tucson airport test positive for COVID-19

TSA agents at Tucson airport test positive for COVID-19
TSA agent, file photo (Source: Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - Several Transportation Security Administration employees in Arizona have tested positive for the coronavirus.

According to data released by the agency, 1,018 federal employees have tested positive for COVID-19, 647 employees have recovered and six have died as a result of the virus.

The TSA provides information on confirmed COVID-19 cases and the last date worked for the most recent screening employee who tested positive. It does not include non-airport employees or contractors who have had limited interaction with the public.

At Tucson International Airport, four screening officers have tested positive. The last day worked by one of the four officers was June 27.

At Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, 15 TSA employees have tested positive for the virus. Of those, 11 were screening officers and the last day worked at the airport was July 4.

If a traveler thinks they may have come in contact with a TSA officer who has tested positive and they are concerned, the agency is recommending that the person follows CDC guidelines and public health recommendations for travel-associated exposure for COVID-19.

The TSA has made adjustments to security screening checkpoints at airports due to the coronavirus, including consolidated checkpoints to handle passenger volumes, social distancing, personal protective equipment for agents, disinfecting and more.

One liquid hand sanitizer container, up to 12 ounces per passenger, is allowed in carry-on bags until further notice.

Reports state the agency implemented procedure changes to better protect employees and passengers this week after a whistleblower complaint. The whistleblower, TSA federal security director Jay Brainard, told CNN he first raised concerns about how the TSA was handling the pandemic in a June whistleblower report filed with the Office of Special Counsel.

TSA officers are now required to clean their gloves, or change to a new pair, between interactions with passengers to prevent cross-contamination between passengers. The TSA is also encouraging passengers to put loose items in their bags instead of bins.

Copyright 2020 KOLD News 13. All rights reserved.