A Tennessee man who has been diagnosed with that state's first case of coronavirus flew into Boston Logan International Airport on a round-trip flight from Nashville International Airport, health officials said.
The patient is a 44-year-old male from Williamson County, the Tennessee Department of Health announced Thursday. He has what is described as a "mild illness" and is currently isolated at home. His test results have been submitted to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Health officials said the patient traveled on a nonstop, round-trip flight between Boston and the Nashville International Airport. They said he was asymptomatic while traveling.
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Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker said he believes the man is one of three people diagnosed with coronavirus after attending a Biogen meeting in Boston last week.
Tennessee health officials said they are in close contact with the Massachusetts Department of Health.
"This patient returned from their out-of-state travel and became ill," said Dr. Mary-Margaret Fill, an epidemiologist with the Tennessee Department of Health.
The Boston Public Health Commission said in a statement that it is "actively working with the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, Massport and the Tennessee Health Department, as well as our partners at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to gather all the information about the confirmed case, which remains ongoing."
The date of the trip has not been released. Officials just said the patient took direct flights between Nashville and Boston, and arrived back in Tennessee four or five days ago.
"Wouldn't they have to tell you if someone was contagious and you were on that flight?" wondered Joyce Hall, a passenger from Nashville who arrived in Boston Thursday. "Wouldn't they need to contact you? I would want to know."
"We are currently compiling a list of their potential contacts," said Dr. Lisa Piercey, commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Health.
The Massachusetts Department of Health could not immediately be reached for comment.
Massport said it is working with the CDC and local public health and emergency organizations to keep travel safe, including the following steps:
All terminal cleaning teams continue to use disinfectant solution and bactericidal-virucidal wipes that disinfect within one minute of application.
Additional cleaning staff has been contracted to focus on disinfecting high traffic touch points throughout the terminals, walkways and garage facilities.
Implemented protocol for enhanced cleaning/disinfecting touch points throughout the terminals, including handrails, door handles, elevator call buttons, escalator handrails, hold-room seating, baby changing areas, kid-port equipment and more.
Restrooms are being cleaned and touch points disinfected on an hourly basis throughout the day. Deep cleanings are being performed on a nightly basis.
Additional hand sanitizer dispensers have been installed throughout the airport for passengers and employees. There are now approximately 140 dispensers that are being monitored and refilled regularly.
Enhanced measures are being implemented in areas in the international terminal, Terminal E, such as Primary Customs and Border Protection counters and inspection stations being cleaned and disinfected every four hours during normal operations and loading bridge touch points being disinfected after each flight operation, including control stations and handrails.
Informational signage has been installed in all restrooms and companion care rooms promoting healthy habits.
All Massport buses are being cleaned nightly with disinfectant. During the day while the buses are in operation, drivers are provided with gloves and they wipe down high-touch areas such as seats, grab bars and luggage racks.
Massachusetts currently has three possible coronavirus cases. The first was confirmed on Feb. 1 when a UMass Boston student returning from Wuhan, China, tested positive. On Tuesday, a Massachusetts woman tested positive for the illness after returning from a school trip to Italy. A third presumptive positive has been returned for a patient who sought treatment at South Shore Medical Center in South Weymouth.
So far, 719 people in Massachusetts have quarantined themselves as a precaution. Of those people, 470 have completed the 14-day period and another 259 are still undergoing monitoring.