San Jose TSA agents with COVID-19 worked at Terminal B, union rep says

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- Traffic at Mineta San Jose International Airport was noticeably lighter than usual after the Transportation Security Administration announced that three of its officers had recently tested positive for COVID-19.

A group of Santa Clara County elected officials, including San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo, called on the TSA Wednesday afternoon to release more details about the infected officers, such as their shift times and posting locations, as well as when they were diagnosed with the novel coronavirus.

Now, the mayor and airport officials have agreed to speak at a joint press conference some time Thursday with more detailed information.

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In the meantime, "We're deep cleaning with wiping multiple times a shift, all surfaces and bathrooms to ensure that we're protecting all of the travelers that come through the airport," said Liccardo, as he sought to re-assure the public that SJC is safe to use.

James Mudrock, president of AFGE Local 1230, the union representing airport security screeners in Northern California, says at least 42 employees have been told to self-quarantine for differing amounts of days, based on their last known contact with one of the infected officers.

"I would hope that we would be able to keep everything open and maintain the passenger flow, but if it gets worse, there's no telling," said Mudrock. "Our officers are committed to what they do, that we are taking every precaution that we are able to, and we appreciate the traveling public also taking precautions."

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Mudrock also says all of the impacted employees have been placed on paid administrative leave and praised the work of local TSA leaders in San Jose. According to the union, the three infected officers worked at the security checkpoint inside Terminal B, which is primarily serviced by Alaska Airlines and Southwest Airlines.

"Screening checkpoints remain open and the agency is working with the CDC, as well as the California Department of Public Health and the Santa Clara County Public Health Department to monitor the situation as well as the health and safety of our employees and the traveling public," the Transportation Security Administration said in a statement released late Tuesday.

The Santa Clara County Public Health Department hasn't said much about these cases, other than that the risk of contracting coronavirus is low during brief interactions.

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