3 TSA Officers at SJC Test Positive for Coronavirus

The union representing the workers confirms they were stationed in Terminal B

NBCUniversal, Inc.

The Transportation Security Administration announced Tuesday that three TSA officers who work at Mineta San Jose International Airport have tested positive for novel coronavirus, also known as COVID-19.

"The officers are receiving medical care and all TSA employees they have come into contact with over the past 14 days are quarantined at home," the TSA said in a written statement.

The statement did not say what interactions the officers may have had with the general public. But the union that represents the three TSA workers confirmed to NBC Bay Area that the workers were stationed in Terminal B and would have come in contact with thousands of travelers.

At least 42 TSA workers who had contact with the infected workers have been quarantined. Screening areas have been deep cleaned.

The travel industry has been impacted by the spreading coronavirus and it now includes airport workers at SJC. Ian Cull reports.

The TSA said it is cooperating with the Centers for Disease Control and prevention, the California Department of Public Health and the Santa Clara County Public Health Department and "will update as more information becomes available."

"We continue to monitor with concern the evolving outbreak of COVID-19. The health and safety of TSA officers remains my number one priority," TSA Administrator David Pekoske said in a tweet Wednesday morning. "We are working with local health officials to take containment steps for employees and passengers."

SJC said its number one priority is the safety of its employees and the traveling public.

"We continue to follow the Public Health Department for the County of Santa Clara guidance for preventing the spread of COVID-19, and remain open for business," the airport said in a tweet.

In a statement, the Santa Clara County Public Health Department said, "The risk of transmission is extremely low for individuals who aren’t in close proximity for an extended period of time. The Public Health Department is following up on cases with close contacts. Risk would be higher when sitting in close proximity to a person for multiple hours versus quick contact passing by an individual in a mall."

Some travelers said they may stay home for the time being because of all the virus developments, while others said they will just be more careful.

"It’s something I should be careful about but I still need to travel," said Lou Nguyen from Los Angeles. "The least I could do is be careful, wash my hands."

South Bay elected leaders on Wednesday called on the TSA to release additional details. The group of leaders included U.S. Reps. Anna Eshoo, Zoe Lofgren, Ro Khanna, and Jimmy Panetta, as well as Santa Clara County board president Cindy Chavez and San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo.

"We urge the TSA to immediately provide the public with information about the three employees who have tested positive for COVID-19, beginning with the operational posts held by the employees," the group said in a statement.

"If these employees were not in direct contact with travelers, we seek to reassure consumers. However, if the employees were posted at security checkpoints and had direct contact with travelers, we believe more information about posting locations and shift times should be made available to the public," the statement said.

The airport is following the Santa Clara County Public Health Department's guidances for limiting the spread of the coronavirus and remains open.

"While we understand SCCPHD assesses the risk to be low of contracting COVID-19 through brief interactions, we also know the CDC is recommending a six-foot separation from infected persons," the politicians said.

"As such, we want to make sure that recent travelers through SJC know their potential risk of exposure and follow guidance by medical professionals to monitor their health and call a healthcare facility if they begin to exhibit symptoms," they said.

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