Trans-Pacific passenger learns of positive COVID-19 test after landing in Honolulu

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Updated: Oct. 28, 2020 at 10:35 AM HST
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HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - The CDC and state health officials were alerted Tuesday after a passenger learned of a positive COVID-19 test result shortly after landing in Honolulu.

The Department of Health confirms the passenger was onboard a United Airlines flight from Chicago to Honolulu that landed about 1:30 p.m. The passenger started the trip with a pending test result.

But the passenger reportedly learned of the positive test result upon landing. The Health Department says the passenger alerted the flight crew and was taken to an isolation area at the airport.

The passenger was assessed by CDC quarantine station and AMR crew.

Health Department officials say other passengers around that person were taken into isolation for health checks and contact tracing.

Some travelers say they don’t agree with anyone boarding a plane without knowing for sure they’re COVID-negative.

“It freaks me out now to kind of think about it that I’m going to be sitting next to a person that’s not sure what their result is and being exposed to it is kind of freaking me out," said Mele Kalama, of Waianae, who had a flight to Denver.

Chris Ligot, who was flying back home to Los Angeles, also raised concerns.

“Just the fact that not knowing once you arrive here and then finding out your positive kind of ruins the whole vacation and then puts people at risk," he said.

After an assessment, the Health Department said the individual was allowed to go directly to their place of isolation.

In addition, information was collected from passengers on the flight in case contact tracing may be required.

A Health Department spokeswoman said the incident was “isolated" and described it as a first for Honolulu.

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