A passenger who traveled from South Korea to Atlanta on Sunday who was hospitalized after airport officials noticed potential symptoms of the disease caused by coronavirus tested negative for the illness, Gov. Brian Kemp’s office said.
The governor said Monday in a press conference the unidentified passenger was screened for the disease after the person was stopped by U.S. Customs officials. His aides said later Monday the tests came back negative.
» THE LATEST: Complete coverage of coronavirus in Georgia
It was not immediately clear to state officials how the individual got on the flight, and Kemp said it’s not known whether the person was symptomatic when they boarded the flight. The individual was hospitalized in Fulton County.
Vice President Mike Pence, who is leading the nation’s coronavirus response, said last week that all passengers on direct flights from Italy and South Korea – two epicenters of the disease – must be screened for signs of the illness.
There are now six confirmed cases in Georgia of COVID-19, the illness caused by coronavirus, and six “presumptive positive” cases that are still pending more testing from CDC, the governor’s office said late Monday.
“If you’re sick, do not go to work. Do not attend large events. You will put others at risk,” said Kemp, who said he wasn’t ready yet to urge the cancellation of large gatherings.
The governor also urged school officials to contact state authorities before canceling classes, as Fulton County administrators did this week before it shuttered schools for Tuesday.
State Superintendent Richard Woods said such a move is not recommended for any other school district.
Kemp’s announcement came on the same day the state leaders unveiled a series of decisions on Monday to address the spread of the illness, which has infected more than 400 people across the nation in 34 states and is linked to 19 deaths.
Health officials are preparing a part of Hard Labor Creek State Park to isolate and monitor patients exposed to the virus. And Insurance Commissioner John King pressured insurance firms to waive cost-sharing charges for testing for COVID-19.
The developments came a day after Kemp announced that 34 Georgians and other passengers from the Grand Princess cruise ship will be transported to Dobbins Air Reserve Base in Marietta for testing and quarantining for possible exposure to the virus.
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