Michigan Officials Intercept COVID-19 Patient From Flying

A person who tested positive for the coronavirus while visiting the state of Michigan and wanted to return home was tracked and intercepted at an airport before they could catch a flight.

The Ingham County Health Department notified the Capital Region International Airport in Lansing on Friday that a person who tested positive for COVID-19 was possibly boarding a flight and should be prevented from doing so.

Ingham County Health Officer Linda Vail issued a cease-and-desist order after the person, who was visiting family in Ingham County.

“We can’t have people hopping on planes that are known positive with COVID-19,” Vail told the Lansing State Journal newspaper. “We just can’t.”

After testing positive, the person told health department staff they wanted to return home.

“It was like, ‘No you can’t,’” Vail said.

The newspaper said it became clear to staff who stayed in contact with the person that the patient was not complying with the order and possibly planned to go to the airport. Vail contacted the airport; the airport called the airline; the airline located the passenger before they got to the security checkpoint and the passenger was denied boarding, according to airport marketing manager Spencer Flynn.

“We let them know what the health department told us,” Flynn said.

The person left voluntarily and later agreed to remain in the county.

“This is the first case we’ve had to step in,” said Flynn, who added that the airport did not have any further departing flights that day, and that a cleaning contractor came and sanitized the area.

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