Armstrong International Airport officials ease passengers’ minds of coronavirus

Armstrong International Airport’s new terminal is being put to the test in one of the busiest...
Armstrong International Airport’s new terminal is being put to the test in one of the busiest travel days of the year.(WVUE)
Updated: Mar. 2, 2020 at 5:30 PM CST
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - The coronavirus has heightened concerns among travelers worldwide and in New Orleans. Louis Armstrong International Airport officials announced the addition of two new international flights out of the city; they say they’re prepared for any possible cases.

Dozens of flights come in and take off from Armstrong International Airport daily with thousands of passengers, but it’s clear some passengers are anxious of the new coronavirus.

"If I didn’t have to travel, I would probably not have traveled,” said Urja Ghimirey, who is traveling from Los Angeles. “On the airplane, there’s too many people, you don’t know, especially on LAX, where there’s so many people there, you don’t even know.”

Ghimirey wore a mask during her travel, but other passengers say they aren’t anxious.

"It doesn't seem like it's that scary to me," said Nathan Burris.

Kevin Dolliole, aviation director, says New Orleans isn’t one of the 11 airports U.S. airports with quarantine stations. Dolliole says they have a plan in place though.

“It’s not something anyone takes lightly, particularly those of us at airports where millions of people transit through the facility on a yearly basis,” Dolliole said.

Governor John Bel Edwards says no one in Louisiana has tested positive for the virus, but Mayor LaToya Cantrell says there was a scare last week when someone called a hospital with flu symptoms.

"You have to respond like you don't know and we have to get our people in the mindset of responding because we don't know,” said Cantrell. “The good news is that we were prepared. Our EMTs went out with full gear, as they should, and it was nothing. It was a regular flu."

She says she has requested testing kits.

"The kits will be made available to the medical community through our hospitals, so this week we are wanting to really drill down,” Cantrell said.

Cantrell is set to meet with public safety, health, and NOLA public school leaders.

"We're just having to stay on top of it the best way that we can and that's through open communication and dialogue," said Cantrell.

Some travelers say that openness from the federal government down is keeping their mind at ease.

“We should probably take it a little bit more serious,” Burris said. “I’m pretty sure our CDC will work things out. I have full confidence in them.”

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