Passengers alarmed as CDC escorts COVID positive person on full plane train

ATLANTA — Passengers passing through Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport may have been exposed to a passenger with COVID-19.

It happened Wednesday evening on this crowded plane train.

Video sent to Channel 2 Action News shows what appears to be two Centers for Disease Control and Prevention workers and a police officer escorting a person the officer said has COVID-19 on the airport’s plane train.

Some of the other passengers who were riding that train now want to know the airport’s protocol for handling suspected COVID-19 patients.

Channel 2′s Dave Huddleston obtained the video from a person who thought it was odd that the CDC workers had on masks, face shields and gloves, so when she got off the train, she asked the officer with them if the person they were escorting was sick and he said yes.

“The car was crowded, there were a lot of passengers on it including passengers in wheelchairs, you know the typical scenario,” passenger Kymberly Reissing said.

Reissing told Huddleston that she was at Atlanta’s airport on Wednesday riding the plane train and saw what she said looked like two CDC workers with masks, face shields and gloves on.

Another passenger on the train sent Huddleston video where you can also see an Atlanta police officer with them. As new passengers get on the train, the officer tells people they can’t sit or stand by the CDC workers and someone they were escorting.

“I could see that a person was sitting behind them, but wasn’t sure of the situation,” Reissing said.

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“How close were you all to the patient who was being escorted,” Huddleston asked the passengers.

Reissing said she was about 15 feet away, but others, including the viewer who sent the video, were much closer.

“They were less than 5 feet away I would say,” the passenger said.

When the train got to the last stop, the viewer recording the video asked the officer about the person being escorted.

“Is he suspected COVID?” the passenger asked.

“Yes,” the officer said.

“They let us all on here,” the passenger said.

“What was I supposed to do?” the officer asked.

“Keep everyone off the train,” the passenger replied. “They should never let anyone on that train.”

“If they’re immune compromised, or elderly, if that’s standard protocol across the nation, I would have some concerns,” Reissing said.

Huddleston started contacting Atlanta police, airport and city officials around 10:30 a.m. Friday about what are the procedures and why passengers are allowed to travel with sick patients.

The CDC sent Huddleston a statement Friday, saying:

“CDC works with Hartfield-Jackson and federal and local partners to respond to ill travelers. CDC, the airport, and other partners have an established protocol to address any issues that may occur. CDC and participating partners work hard to protect passengers, airport employees, and emergency responders from public health threats.”

Huddleston still has not received anything back from the city, airport or APD.

Reissing said there should be safety protocols to keep passengers away from patients at airports.

“We’re always talking about isolating and quarantining, but to me that’s must a mixed message,” Reissing said.

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