A healthcare professional who was screening arriving passengers at Los Angeles International Airport for coronavirus symptoms tested positive for the virus themself, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has confirmed. NBC News first reported the virus case on Wednesday.
The person, who was not identified, tested positive late Tuesday night. They had last worked as a health screener on February 21.
A spokesperson for DHS told Business Insider that the medical professional had worn the “correct protective equipment” while working. An internal email obtained by NBC characterized the person as a contractor for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The CDC has been screening passengers arriving to the US from China since mid-January, which was the first time that many became aware of the new virus.
According to DHS, the health worker self-quarantined at home immediately upon first developing symptoms, and contacted a doctor. The spokesperson characterized the symptoms as “cold-like.” The worker’s family members are also under home quarantine.
The worker began exhibiting symptoms on Sunday, February 29, according to the DHS spokesperson — more than a week after their most recent shift screening passengers.
The Department is tracing the worker’s contacts and colleagues. The spokesperson told Business Insider that DHS could not confirm whether the worker contracted the virus on the job, or whether it was a case of community transmission.
There have been no reported cases identified through passenger screening at LAX.
There have been more than 95,000 cases of the virus, which is believed to have originated in Wuhan, China, reported worldwide in more than 80 countries, including more than 3,250 deaths.
Nearly 150 cases have been reported in the US. 11 of those cases have been fatal.
The global economy has suffered heavy losses as uncertainty about the virus continues to linger. The travel industry has been especially affected as outbreaks continue to be reported in additional locations.