Bahamasair CEO Tracy Cooper said yesterday that one of the airline’s flight attendants tested positive for COVID-19.
In a statement, Cooper said the flight attendant tested positive on Tuesday, July 14.
Her last day at work was Monday, July 6, Cooper said.
“The airline has been in contact with officials at the Ministry of Health and as a result of information provided, we are following the established guidelines and protocols as outlined by the health officials,” Cooper said.
“Health and safety are and always will be paramount at Bahamasair. We remain committed to adhering to the best local and international aviation and medical standards.”
When contacted, Bahamasair Chairman Tommy Turnquest would not say whether the woman’s last flight was international or domestic but said the airline is following the procedures put in place by the Ministry of Health (MOH).
“Monday the sixth was the last time she was on a flight,” Turnquest said.
“She was on a flight with two pilots and two other cabin attendants. We have advised all those persons who worked with her.”
Around the world, airlines like Delta have contacted passengers who traveled on a flight with a person who days later tested positive for the virus.
When asked if Bahamasair has reached out to passengers who were on the July 6 flight with the flight attendant, Turnquest said, “What I can say is we are following all the guidelines put forward by the MOH. And as a result of the information provided by them, we are following established guidelines and protocols outlined.”
Three additional COVID-19 cases were confirmed yesterday, with all three being New Providence women.
One remains in hospital and two have a history of recent travel.
Since July 8, there have been 15 new cases of COVID-19 in The Bahamas. The last case prior was on June 14. There have been 10 new cases on Grand Bahama and five on New Providence.
The Bahamas reopened its borders to tourists and international travel on July 1. Health officials believe the spike in cases on Grand Bahama appears to be the result of Bahamians traveling to the United States and bringing the virus back home with them.
Turnquest said unlike with other businesses where patrons are able to sit or stand three to six feet apart, the airline industry presents a challenge.
“Obviously, we are not physically distancing on the plane,” he said. “It’s almost impossible to do so. But all our guidelines say that as long as face masks are worn and worn properly, the risks [of contracting the virus] are very low.”
The Bahamasair chairman insisted that the airline’s customers should still feel secure with the measures put in place to ensure their safety on flights.
“We’re fully confident with the health and safety measures that we are taking, in terms of the aviation and health standards, in terms of face masks, in terms of looking out for anyone that appears to be ill or with high temperature,” Turnquest said.
Cooper said on Tuesday that the airline continues to struggle, running less than 50 percent of its traditional routes.
According to Cooper, this time last year, Bahamasair was running about five flights daily to popular markets in Florida. Now, he said, there is one flight per day to each and its Turks and Caicos, Haiti and Cuba routes are inoperable.