Seven more TSA workers in Atlanta test positive for COVID-19

Travelers wearing face masks make their way to security checkpoints at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport on Thursday, July 2, 2020. (Hyosub Shin / Hyosub.Shin@ajc.com)

Seven more Transportation Security Administration employees at Hartsfield-Jackson International have tested positive for the coronavirus in the last week, including some who have been on leave.

Three of the employees worked at the Atlanta airport last week at the main security checkpoint. The other four last worked at the airport July 17, June 17, March 17 and Feb. 20, according to TSA.

In the past, TSA has closed down the checkpoint for deep cleaning after screening officers tested positive, causing long lines and wait times. This time, the main checkpoint has continued with regular operations. The agency says the checkpoints are now instead cleaned hourly and overnight.

So far, a total of 55 TSA employees at Hartsfield-Jackson have tested positive for COVID-19.

Some other airports located in hot spots around the country have had more cases among the TSA workforce, including New York’s John F. Kennedy International with 117 cases, Newark Liberty with 69 cases, Miami International with 95 cases and Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International with 60 cases.

TSA Administrator David Pekoske traveled to Atlanta last week and held a town hall meeting with employees. “Please do everything that you can to protect yourself,” he told them, “as you are a critical link to protecting fellow employees and passengers.”

He encouraged employees to practice social distancing and to take other precautions on duty and off duty, saying: “We need to do everything we can to prevent further spread.”

TSA says it has installed plastic barriers at the checkpoint and has increased cleaning of bins, checkpoint surfaces and equipment. Officers wear masks and change gloves after each pat-down.

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