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Medical professional at Los Angeles airport tests positive for coronavirus

A medical professional conducting coronavirus screenings at Los Angeles International Airport has tested positive for the virus, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) said Wednesday. 

The person began to exhibit coldlike symptoms on Feb. 29 and visited their primary care doctor for a COVID-19 test the next day. The test came back positive, DHS said in a statement. 

DHS headquarters was alerted to the situation late Tuesday night, spokeswoman Heather Swift said in a statement. 

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The individual is under self-quarantine at home with mild symptoms and is under medical supervision; their immediate family is also under home quarantine, according to DHS.  

“DHS is happy to report that this individual was highly trained and did everything right both on the job and when they began to feel sick. We are told the individual wore all the correct protective equipment and took necessary protections on the job,” Swift said. 

The individual’s last shift at LAX was Feb. 21, more than a week before they began experiencing symptoms, according to DHS. 

At this time, DHS said it does not know if this case is a result of community spread through the individual's work as a medical screener. No coronavirus cases have been reported from the LAX screened travelers. 

"I want to go out of my way to thank our federal officials we have been working with as well," Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said at a press conference Wednesday.

"The [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] and [Health and Human Services], for us at the airport and the port; our Coast Guard and our [Customs and Border Protection] officials, who have really worked to make sure that ships that are coming into the port are screened, the passengers that are coming into LAX are being screened — the fourth-busiest airport in the world and the busiest container terminal in the Americas," he added. 

Los Angeles County declared a health emergency Wednesday after officials reported six new cases of coronavirus over the past two days.

There have been 153 confirmed cases of the virus in the U.S., according to figures compiled by Johns Hopkins University.