Passenger on JetBlue Flight to Florida Tested Positive for Coronavirus Before Boarding

A passenger on a JetBlue flight from New York City to Palm Beach, Florida tested positive for the new coronavirus, according to multiple reports.

The man had flown on JetBlue flight 253 from JFK Airport to Palm Beach International Airport, and upon landing at 8:53 p.m., the plane was kept on the tarmac for nearly two hours as health officials spoke with the crew members and 114 passengers on board, reported ABC News.

Passengers were told to monitor themselves for symptoms of the new coronavirus, officially termed COVID-19, but were allowed to leave the airport without meeting with a doctor.

Another passenger on board said that the man was moved out of his seat.

“The person across the way from me was taken to the back of the plane,” passenger Scott Rodman told WPTV. “He was wearing masks and gloves. His wife was sitting in the same row as me and mentioned to others that he wasn’t feeling well.”

“She said he had gotten a phone call with his test results right before we had taken off, implying that he had a positive test but not actually saying it,” Rodman added.

The other passengers were updated by Palm Beach County’s health director, Dr. Alina Alonso, at the airport and told to contact the health department with any concerns.

“An individual on this flight got a text that he tested positive for the coronavirus,” Alonso told the flight, according to WPTV. “He has not been coughing or sneezing or anything on the plane. At this point, you’re free to walk around and move around because, most likely, you’re not going to have anything because there was no activity. The way you get this virus is somebody has to cough or sneeze on you.”

Palm Beach International Airport said that they’re sterilizing the area where the passengers were taken off the plane, which was outside of the main terminal.

PEOPLE has contacted JetBlue for comment.

As of Thursday morning, there are 1,269 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the U.S., and 37 people have died. New York state has the second-most cases in the country, with 225, and Florida has the eighth-most, with 29. Two people in the state have died.


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