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Passengers flying out of Sky Harbor test positive for coronavirus in Canada

The two passengers were Canadians traveling from Phoenix to Toronto.
Credit: TEGNA

PHOENIX — Two Canadian flight passengers have tested positive for coronavirus in Toronto, Canada after flying from Phoenix Sky Harbor on Feb. 28, according to a spokesperson from the airport. 

WestJet, the airline that the passengers flew in on, stated they were contacted by the Public Health Agency of Canada on March 5 about the positive tests. They continued to say they are working with health officials to identify passengers and crew members that may have been exposed. 

Health officials advised that the case is under investigation and that any individual who was at risk for exposure will be contacted.

Officials do not believe that the virus would have spread easily while on the plane due to how air is filtered and circulated, the Maricopa County Department of Health stated. 

However, the CDC has advised that anyone who was in close contact, which is closer than six feet for more than 10 minutes, with an infected individual is most at risk. 

The Maricopa County Department of Health went on to say that anyone on the Westjet flight 1199 who is experiencing symptoms 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 department stated.

Phoenix Sky Harbor has created self-imposed protocols in order to combat the virus including: 

  • 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. 

This is a developing story and will be updated as new information is relayed.

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