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Jefferson Parish Coroner confirms man rushed from United Airlines flight to NOLA hospital died of COVID-19

3 years 4 months 3 hours ago Wednesday, December 23 2020 Dec 23, 2020 December 23, 2020 5:55 AM December 23, 2020 in News
Source: ABC News

When a 69-year-old man aboard a Los Angeles bound United Airlines flight became ill, airline crews made an emergency stop in New Orleans where the passenger was rushed to a hospital and sadly, passed away. But days after his death, a coroner's report indicated that the man's death was a result of COVID-19, which further impacts all of the flight's other passengers.

According to ABC News, the Jefferson Parish Coroner listed 'acute respiratory failure' and 'COVID-19' as the 69-year-old's cause of death, which leads officials and other passengers to wonder how someone with COVID symptoms was able to board the flight in the first place. 

In order to fly on major U.S. airlines, passengers must confirm they haven't tested positive for the virus or experienced COVID-like symptoms within the past 14 days. The passenger reportedly completed that form and confirmed that he had neither tested positive for COVID-19 not experienced any symptoms. 

But some of his fellow passengers say they heard his wife tell an emergency medical technician that her husband was experiencing COVID-related symptoms, including loss of smell and difficulty breathing.

Cameron Roberts, a passenger on the flight, described the situation to ABC News, saying, “They had him on the ground in the center of the aisle. They were still giving him CPR while we were touching down.”

Roberts and his fiancé said passengers gave the man chest compressions and mouth-to-mouth, because they thought he was suffering from cardiac arrest.

Roberts said he is currently quarantining 

“It's sad to see that, you know, they lost a family member,” Roberts said, “but at the same time, it was irresponsible on their part to have come on the plane.”

After the incident, United Airlines released all passenger information and seating assignments to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). 

The airline said it does not reach out to individual passengers as it cannot offer medical advice, as the CDC has confirmed it will contact any passenger who might have been exposed.

On Sunday, the CDC said it "is in the process of collecting information and proceeding according to our standard operating procedures to determine if further public health action is appropriate. To protect the privacy of the individual, we aren’t providing this information to the public."

However, several passengers who were aboard flight 591 told ABC News they now have symptoms and have not been contacted by the CDC. 

On Tuesday, the CDC simply told ABC News it continues to recommend that postponing travel and staying home is the best way to protect oneself and others from COVID-19.  

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