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TSA worker at Detroit Metro Airport tests positive for coronavirus

Leonard N. Fleming
The Detroit News

A Transportation Security Administration worker at Detroit Metro Airport has tested positive for the coronavirus, the first airport security official to acquire the deadly virus in the state, officials confirmed Monday.

"TSA confirms that a Transportation Security Administration officer who works at Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport tested positive for the COVID-19 virus," the TSA said in a statement. "The individual is quarantined and resting at home.

"TSA employees who work the same shift and may have come in contact with the officer who tested positive during the past 14 days have been alerted about the situation so that they can take action as appropriate."

The unidentified TSA employee last worked March 14 at the North Terminal, Blue 1 security checkpoint, said Mark Howell, a spokesman for the TSA.

The North Terminal is home to airlines such as Spirit and Frontier airlines.

The TSA workers are not required to wear any type of masks to protect from the virus. But Howell said the TSA is pushing the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention guidelines to wash hands, change their gloves and not reuse swabs during security checks.

"We've given them the discretion to do that, so they have the complete flexibility to wear masks if they want to," Howell said. "It's just up to them. We're making sure that they've got them available."

The TSA has had at least 25 other cases of workers testing positive for the virus at airports across the country.

"Security screening checkpoints remain open and the agency is working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services to monitor the situation, as well as the health and safety of our employees and the traveling public," the TSA statement said.

Howell said the TSA "will follow any additional guidance that is issued" by the CDC.

"Travelers are reminded to practice proper hygiene and closely follow guidance issued by the CDC," he said.

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