An employee of Alaska Airlines, reportedly a ticketing or gate agent for the airline at San Francisco International Airport, has tested positive for the coronavirus.
As KPIX reports, via a statement issued Saturday by the airline, the employee left work showing symptoms on Tuesday, March 10, and is now doing well.
This is the latest local example of a confirmed case being identified as a person who may have interacted with many, many people in the days before they became symptomatic, in a job that requires such interactions — and it's possible this person handled the printed boarding passes and cellphones of thousands of passengers, though the airline is currently saying they "do not believe any guests were at risk," per KRON4, but that seems patently ridiculous.
The employee is a customer service agent, and it's not entirely clear whether they worked primarily at the ticketing desk or at the airlines' gates at Terminal 2 at SFO. According to the company, per KRON4, "Alaska Airlines believes a handful of employees were exposed, [and] those employees have been told to self-isolate."
Per the statement: "We plan to work with local public health authorities and our partners at SFO to identify persons who may have come in immediate and prolonged contact with this employee. Our medical experts have reiterated that the risk of transmission for anyone who was not in close contact with this employee remains low."
Alaska Airlines is currently waiving all change and cancellation fees through April 30. "In the last couple of weeks, we have seen the coronavirus (COVID-19) situation shift rapidly in the United States. Our hearts go out to those around the world who've been impacted by the virus," the airline writes.