2 more TSA officers test positive for COVID-19 at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport

2 more TSA officers test positive for COVID-19 at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport
A security screening area at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. (KIRO)

KING COUNTY, Wash. — The Transportation Security Administration has confirmed that two more of its officers have tested positive for COVID-19 at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.

One officer last worked on July 1, and the other on June 30. Both worked in the checkpoint area.

There have been 15 confirmed TSA COVID-19 cases at the airport since the agency started an online tracker in March.

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The TSA said it has made some adjustments at airport checkpoints to make the security screening process safer:

  • Passenger volume - The TSA is consolidating its screening operations to adjust for reduced flights and passenger volume. Impacted security checkpoints may close as a result, so passengers may be redirected to other security screening checkpoints at the airport.
  • Social distancing - TSA has implemented procedures to increase social distancing and reduce direct contact between our employees and the traveling public whenever possible, without compromising security. Adjustments include increasing distance between passengers as they enter the security checkpoint queue, placing visual reminders of appropriate spacing on checkpoint floors, and staggering the use of lanes in the security checkpoint where feasible.
  • Reduced physical contact - The TSA is implementing a phased installation of plastic shielding at points of interaction between passengers and TSA officers (e.g., checkpoints, checked baggage drop-offs, etc.). Also, travelers maintain possession of their IDs and boarding passes, place them on the reader, and hold them up to the TSA officer for visual inspection.
  • PPE - TSA officers are required to wear face coverings and gloves. They may also choose to wear eye protection or clear plastic face shields. In addition, TSA officers change their gloves following each pat-down and upon passenger request.
  • Cleaning and disinfecting - The TSA has increased the frequency and intensity of cleaning and disinfecting of frequently -touched surfaces and security screening equipment, including bins. TSA officers also use new Explosives Trace Detection swabs for each person.
  • Medical exemptions for hand sanitizer - The TSA is allowing one liquid hand sanitizer container, up to 12 ounces per passenger, in carry-on bags until further notice. Since these containers exceed the standard allowance typically permitted through a checkpoint, they will need to be screened separately. This will add some time to your checkpoint screening experience. Please keep in mind that all other liquids, gels and aerosols brought to a checkpoint continue to be limited to 3.4 ounces or 100 milliliters carried in a one-quart size bag, following the TSA’s special procedures for traveling with medication.
  • Expired driver’s license and REAL ID extension - If your driver’s license or state-issued ID expired on or after March 1, 2020, and you are unable to renew at your state driver’s license agency, you may still use it as acceptable identification at the checkpoint. TSA will accept expired driver’s licenses or state-issued IDs a year after expiration. DHS recently announced an extension of time to obtain a REAL ID-compliant driver’s license. The new deadline is October 1, 2021. Learn more on TSA’s REAL ID webpage.

The TSA said it has had 899 federal workers test positive for the coronavirus overall, with five who have died and 589 who have recovered.