Two Canadian passengers who flew on WestJet from Phoenix to Toronto on February 28, 2020 have tested positive for the coronavirus, (COVID-19) according to Canadian Health Officials. Currently WestJet is working with health officials to contact all passengers, crew members and Sky Harbor management to be proactive with this latest information. Health officials advise that the case is being investigated and those at risk of exposure by these passengers will be contacted.
Per WestJet’s website: “The safety of our guests and crews is our top priority. WestJet was advised on March 5 by the Public Health Agency of Canada that two guests who flew from Phoenix to Toronto on February 28 on WestJet flight 1199 have tested positive for COVID-19. WestJet has standard procedures in place for dealing with illness and is working with PHAC, Peel Public Health and the Toronto Pearson Airport. Peel Public Health’s investigation has determined that the two cases may have been able to pass the coronavirus to others during their return. Guests who were seated in rows 18-22 of WestJet flight 1199, returning to Toronto Pearson Airport from the Sky Harbor Airport in Phoenix on February 28, are directed to self-isolate and call Peel Public Health immediately at 905-799-7700 (or at 905-584-2216 if in Caledon). Guests on flight 1199 are also being advised to self-monitor for signs of cough, fever or respiratory issues and call Peel Public Health if symptoms arise within the next 14 days.”
Per Maricopa County Department of Public Health: Anyone sick with acute respiratory symptoms (not asthma or seasonal allergies), including individuals who have traveled on WestJet flight 1199 should contact their health care provider. Unless a person has severe symptoms such as difficulty breathing, it is not necessary to go to an emergency room. The emergency room will not be able to do anything for individuals who do not have symptoms. COVID-19 spreads similar to flu; therefore, you are most at risk for getting sick if you are in close contact to someone who is actively sick with COVID-19 for an extended period of time. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), close contact is being closer than six feet for more than ten minutes with a sick individual. Generally, because of how air circulates and is filtered on airplanes, most viruses and other germs do not spread easily on airplanes. More COVID-19 information is available at https://www.maricopa.gov/Coronavirus.
Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport is actively monitoring the Coronavirus (COVID-19) developments and the city of Phoenix Office of Emergency Management is in close contact with federal, state and county health officials. At this time the CDC has not requested any specific changes to Phoenix Sky Harbor’s standard health and safety protocols related to the virus. Some airports have been designated as primary gateways, with additional health protocols in place because of their high number of nonstop flights to impacted areas. Sky Harbor is not a designated airport at this time.
Self-imposed protocols at Phoenix Sky Harbor
• In addition to Sky Harbor’s already thorough 24-hour cleaning schedule, the Airport has proactively increased the number of times per day it sanitizes high-touch areas.
• If someone falls ill while at the Airport and calls for paramedics, the Phoenix Fire Department will respond appropriately, in partnership with Maricopa County Health.
• Employees and passengers are being encouraged to use hand sanitizer and wash hands often, for at least 20 seconds.
• Should a flight crew have reason to believe that a passenger on board may have the Coronavirus, they will call ahead to ensure that paramedics and health department officials respond accordingly.
• If you have flown recently and been diagnosed with the virus, protocol is for your health department to notify your airline and airport so that other passengers can be advised.
• We are in daily contact with all of our airlines to keep the traveling public safe. If you have concerns about the coronavirus and flying, we recommend that you reach out to your airline.
Sky Harbor is keeping information about the coronavirus updated here: https://www.skyharbor.com/beforetraveling/health-information