Medical Screener at LAX Tests Positive for Coronavirus, Second Worker at Airport With Disease

Health officials announced that a Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) medical screener tested positive for COVID-19 coronavirus Friday, the second LAX screener to be infected with the virus.

The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (LACDPH) announced that a screener working at the airport's quarantine facility was diagnosed with the virus. A screener working at the same facility was found to be infected on Tuesday and the two cases are believed to be related. Los Angeles county reports 13 total cases so far, out of at least 69 in California.

"We will continue to see more cases of COVID-19," said LACDPH Director Barbara Ferrer in a press release. "We continue to urge everyone to do their part: stay home if you are sick and keep your children home if they are sick; take time now to plan for the possibility of school and business closures, and be sure to follow any additional directives issued by Public Health and/or local officials."

Officials say the screeners were likely exposed by an infected traveler, but have asked for assistance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in investigating the cases. Both workers are currently in isolation.

Newsweek reached out to LACDPH for additional information but did not receive a response in time for publication.

Los Angeles Coronavirus Press Conference
Los Angeles County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer speaks at a press conference on the COVID-19 coronavirus in Los Angeles, California on March 6, 2020. ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty

U.S. COVID-19 cases have been multiplying quickly. An additional 89 cases were reported Friday, making the latest official domestic total 310 in at least 25 states. At least 15 people in the country have died from the virus, while another 15 people have recovered.

Experts warn that the U.S. total is likely to continue to rise for the foreseeable future, especially as testing becomes more widely available. Federal officials planned to ship at least one million test kits to states by the end of the week but have fallen well short of the mark so far. Fewer than 2,000 people have been verifiably tested in the U.S., according to a Friday report in The Atlantic.

Just over 102,000 cases have been reported globally, with over 3,600 new cases on Friday. Deaths number close to 3,500, while at least 57,600 people have recovered.

The World Health Organization estimates that the mortality rate for COVID-19 is 3.4 percent, far higher than more common viral infections like the seasonal flu.

President Donald Trump disagreed with the mortality rate provided by experts, telling Fox News' Sean Hannity that he had a "hunch" the real number was under one percent Wednesday. The president and his administration have been under fire for their handling of the ongoing health crisis, but Trump signed a bill Friday morning to provide $8.3 billion in emergency funding to combat the virus.

World Health Organization advice for avoiding spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19)

Hygiene advice

  • Clean hands frequently with soap and water, or alcohol-based hand rub.
  • Wash hands after coughing or sneezing; when caring for the sick; before; during and after food preparation; before eating; after using the toilet; when hands are visibly dirty; and after handling animals or waste.
  • Maintain at least 1 meter (3 feet) distance from anyone who is coughing or sneezing.
  • Avoid touching your hands, nose and mouth. Do not spit in public.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or bent elbow when coughing or sneezing. Discard the tissue immediately and clean your hands.

Medical advice

  • If you feel unwell (fever, cough, difficulty breathing) seek medical care early and call local health authorities in advance.
  • Stay up to date on COVID-19 developments issued by health authorities and follow their guidance.

Mask usage

  • Healthy individuals only need to wear a mask if taking care of a sick person.
  • Wear a mask if you are coughing or sneezing.
  • Masks are effective when used in combination with frequent hand cleaning.
  • Do not touch the mask while wearing it. Clean hands if you touch the mask.
  • Learn how to properly put on, remove and dispose of masks. Clean hands after disposing of mask.
  • Do not reuse single-use masks.
statista, covid19, coronavirus, worldwide cases,
A map showing confirmed cases of COVID-19 around the world. Statista

Editor's pick

Newsweek cover
  • Newsweek magazine delivered to your door
  • Unlimited access to
  • Ad free experience
  • iOS and Android app access
  • All newsletters + podcasts
Newsweek cover
  • Unlimited access to
  • Ad free experience
  • iOS and Android app access
  • All newsletters + podcasts