THURSDAY 8:20 P.M. UPDATE: Below is a statement that JetBlue released Thursday night regarding the incident:
The health and safety of our customers and crewmembers is our first priority. In reviewing last night’s event, we determined the customer boarded our flight knowing he was awaiting results for a coronavirus test without disclosing it to anyone at JetBlue. Consistent with CDC guidance, we ask all customers who are not feeling well, who believe they may have coronavirus, or who are awaiting test results to avoid travel until they are cleared by a medical professional. Last night’s event put our crewmembers, customers, and federal and local officials in an unsettling situation that could have easily been avoided, and as such, this customer will not be permitted to fly on JetBlue in the future.
ORIGINAL STORY: A passenger on a JetBlue flight to Palm Beach International Airport from New York’s JFK has been positively diagnosed with the coronavirus, according to Palm Beach Fire Rescue. The plane landed around 8:30 p.m. last night at PBIA and sat on the runway for hours as first responders called the Department of Health of Palm Beach County. “The person across the way from me was taken to the back of the plane. 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,” passenger Scott Rodman told WPTV. The New York Post reports that the man got his positive coronavirus test results right before the flight took off from New York. The unidentified man was taken off the plane by a crew wearing masks and gloves. They say passengers who were near the patient were given instructions on monitoring their health at home.
BREAKING NEWS: @PBFireRescue confirmed 1 man tested positive for #COVID19 #coronavirus . The man and his wife were removed from @JetBlue ✈️ once it arrived at PBIA from JFK. Area was sterilized other passengers were released! @wpbf_erin @WPBF_Gianna w/ updates on @WPBF25News pic.twitter.com/MPtrUnirZi
— Wakisha Bailey (@wpbf_wakisha) March 12, 2020
According to PBC fire rescue officials, crews at PBIA are sterilizing the containment area where passengers deplaned. That area was separate from the main airport terminal. The aircrew and 114 passengers were stuck on the plane for hours. Just before 11 o’clock, the two people in masks and gloves walked off the plane. About 30 minutes later, other passengers were allowed off. Within an hour, all passengers had deplaned and were told to monitor their health over the next couple of days. They were allowed to leave the airport without seeing a doctor.