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Recently flown? If you were exposed to COVID-19 during that flight, you will be contacted.

June 16, 2020 – News

You’ve recently flown back to Juneau. You’ve heard that someone who doesn’t live in Juneau has tested positive for COVID-19. Now you’re wondering if you were exposed on your flight. The short answer is this – if you’ve recently flown and are considered someone who’s been exposed, you will be contacted by a local Public Health Nurse.

When someone tests positive for COVID-19 in Juneau, local Public Health Nurses with the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services initiate a contact investigation. A contact investigation is the public health approach to identifying other people who may have been exposed to an infectious disease. The same thing happens when someone tests positive for COVID-19 shortly after flying, except there’s the added step of figuring out who on the plane was exposed.

During a contact investigation, Public Health Nurses reach out to any person who may have come into contact with the individual who tested positive for COVID-19. For individuals who’ve tested positive shortly after flying, the state works with the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to find exposed passengers. CDC requests the flight manifest to identify passengers seated next to that individual. The flight manifest is a document that contains passengers’ names, seat numbers, and contact information. CDC does not release any information about the COVID-19 positive person or the contacts to anyone other than public health staff working on the investigation. Public Health will notify and quarantine additional persons as appropriate.

If you are considered a contact on an airplane of someone who tested positive for COVID-19, you will be called. This is a good reminder to give the airline your current contact information when booking your ticket so you can be notified if you are exposed to a sick traveler on a flight.

For more local news, information, and resources to help keep Juneau healthy, go to juneau.org/covid-19 and Bartlett Hospital’s COVID-19 page.