Advertisement
  1. News
  2. /
  3. Health

Three Tampa International Airport workers test positive for coronavirus

An internal memo obtained by a TV station said the news “is not unexpected."
Dexter Toledo, 46, and his son, Shawn Toledo, 13, of Sarasota, left, and Chynna Foster, 24, of Tampa, right, exit Tampa International Airport (TIA) moments after arriving on JetBlue flight #905, a one-way flight from Newark (EWR), New Jersey, which arrived at 12:13 am, only minutes after an executive order issued by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis went into effect on March 24, 2020 at 12:01 a.m. which directs all persons whose point of departure originates from outside the State of Florida in an area with substantial community spread, to include the New York Tri-State Area (Connecticut, New Jersey and New York), and entering the State of Florida through airports to isolate or quarantine for a period of 14 days from the time of entry into the State of Florida or the duration of the personÕs presence in the State of Florida, whichever is shorter. All persons isolating or quarantining under this Section, shall be responsible for all costs associated with that personÕs isolation or quarantine, including transportation, lodging, food, medical care and any other expenses to sustain the person during the period of isolation or quarantine.
Dexter Toledo, 46, and his son, Shawn Toledo, 13, of Sarasota, left, and Chynna Foster, 24, of Tampa, right, exit Tampa International Airport (TIA) moments after arriving on JetBlue flight #905, a one-way flight from Newark (EWR), New Jersey, which arrived at 12:13 am, only minutes after an executive order issued by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis went into effect on March 24, 2020 at 12:01 a.m. which directs all persons whose point of departure originates from outside the State of Florida in an area with substantial community spread, to include the New York Tri-State Area (Connecticut, New Jersey and New York), and entering the State of Florida through airports to isolate or quarantine for a period of 14 days from the time of entry into the State of Florida or the duration of the personÕs presence in the State of Florida, whichever is shorter. All persons isolating or quarantining under this Section, shall be responsible for all costs associated with that personÕs isolation or quarantine, including transportation, lodging, food, medical care and any other expenses to sustain the person during the period of isolation or quarantine. [ DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Times ]
Published Apr. 3, 2020

TAMPA — Three people who work at Tampa International Airport have tested positive for the coronavirus, according to an internal memo from airport CEO Joe Lopano.

The cases are unlikely to be connected, the memo said, because all the employees worked in different organizations.

One works for the Hillsborough County Aviation Authority, which oversees the airport, and two are employees of airport tenants. But the email did not say which tenants. The Transportation Security Administration and the Federal Aviation Administration operate there as do private restaurant, retail and other businesses. The memo was first obtained by WFTS-Ch. 28.

The Aviation Authority was informed of the positive tests on Tuesday. Some employees learned they had been exposed that day, while others found out when Lopano issued the memo Wednesday, said airport spokesperson Emily Nipps.

The airport has disinfected the areas where the people worked and is working with the Florida Department of Health to notify those who might have been exposed.

“The news of these cases is not unexpected,” the memo said. “TPA has more than 10,000 people working for all the companies that do business here. Statistically, we can assume that some of these employees will become infected with COVID-19 as the virus spreads and testing becomes more available.”

The memo said the airport has already taken measures to decrease the risk of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus. Many employees, including 75 percent of the Aviation Authority team, are working remotely. Those still working at the airport were instructed to practice social distancing and some workers were put on alternating shifts. The airport’s shops and restaurants have also reduced their hours.

Tampa International has seen a 90 percent decrease in business over the last month, Nipps said.

“We’re seeing only a couple thousand passengers a day and overall there are far fewer people at the airport than there were a month ago," she said.

• • •

Tampa Bay Times coronavirus coverage

GET THE DAYSTARTER MORNING UPDATE: Sign up to receive the most up-to-date information on COVID-19 and Tampa Bay, six days a week

UNEMPLOYMENT Q&A: We answer your questions about Florida unemployment benefits

CONTRIBUTE TO THE SCRAPBOOK: Help us tell the story of life under coronavirus

MEET THE HELPERS: Highlighting Tampa Bay’s everyday heroes in this crisis

FOLLOW OUR COVERAGE ON SOCIAL MEDIA: Facebook. Instagram. Twitter. Reddit.

LISTEN TO THE CORONAVIRUS PODCAST: New episodes every week, including interviews with experts and reporters

HAVE A TIP?: Send us confidential news tips

We’re working hard to bring you the latest news on the coronavirus in Florida. This effort takes a lot of resources to gather and update. If you haven’t already subscribed, please consider buying a print or digital subscription.