AS COVID Contact Tracing

Old Oct 27, 20, 3:14 pm
  #1  
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AS COVID Contact Tracing

I've been reticent to post this because I love AS, but it seems like an issue to me.

A week ago, my and my partner flew back together (seperate tickets but sitting together) on an AS flight. There was surprisingly a lot of coughing around us, and folks across from us did not wear any masks the entire time beside takeoff and walking off the plane (I bugged a FA about this, to no avail).

Anyway - given the thread title, you may see where this is going -- after we got back (Tuesday), we made sure to stay home for a few days just to make sure we felt alright. Come Thursday night, I start to feel awful.. Yadda, yadda, I test positive for COVID. I immediately told AS and was basically told "sorry to hear, hope you feel better, thanks for letting us know."

I would expect me telling them to result in contact tracing passengers around me. However, best to my knowledge, they haven't. Why do I think that? Because my partner wasn't on my itinerary (but was sitting next to me), so theoretically they should have been a key person contacted for contact tracing.

I don't really have a question or any comment here other than I was surprised to see Alaska (apparently) not do contact tracing upon knowledge of a positive COVID test.
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Old Oct 27, 20, 4:01 pm
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I wonder if they might react differently if your county health department contacts them. Is your county doing any tracing now that you're a documented case? Seems like something an official government agency should be taking the lead on versus the airline itself based on a phone call from you.
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Old Oct 27, 20, 4:22 pm
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Originally Posted by tom911 View Post
I wonder if they might react differently if your county health department contacts them. Is your county doing any tracing now that you're a documented case? Seems like something an official government agency should be taking the lead on versus the airline itself based on a phone call from you.
No, surprisingly. And I agree. But I'm in King County and no one has reached out to me other than fire dept to confirm the positive.
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Old Oct 27, 20, 4:36 pm
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Originally Posted by barabuski View Post
No, surprisingly. And I agree. But I'm in King County and no one has reached out to me other than fire dept to confirm the positive.
King County has an active contact tracing program, employing 64 at last count. I’ll bet your phone will ring for this not long from now. Note there is more than an hour worth of questioning.
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Old Oct 27, 20, 5:04 pm
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Originally Posted by jjclancy View Post
King County has an active contact tracing program, employing 64 at last count. I’ll bet your phone will ring for this not long from now. Note there is more than an hour worth of questioning.
Nothing yet, but I've certainly kept my phone ringer on expecting one.

That said, it just seems like this process is awfully slow leading to inefficacy. That's why I contacted AS originally actually - I figured folks on my flight may very well have return flights, and would want to know they should get tested first. I do understand why AS may not wish to be super reactionary, but man, the whole process is frustrating!
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Old Oct 27, 20, 6:29 pm
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So having been on the other end of the coin it has been rather disheartening. I popped a positive test back in August. I was and have remained asymptomatic. In a case of due diligence I contacted Alaska so that contact tracking could be performed. The response I got was "Oh sad that you are positive, we look forward to you flying again". They also stated that contact tracing would be performed by local health authorities.
Due to the nature of work, I was involved with three state health departments with different guidance. One wanted the travel history but only for the flights that arrived and not departed the state. Another one wanted only a list of contacts I had 48hrs prior to getting a test done. A third was "oh you work in healthcare, yeah just wear a mask and get back at it"
So the long and the short of it is, If you think you know where you got it from, you probably did. Wear a mask, wash the hands, take appropriate steps.
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Old Oct 27, 20, 11:06 pm
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Originally Posted by barabuski View Post
and folks across from us did not wear any masks the entire time beside takeoff and walking off the plane (I bugged a FA about this, to no avail).
This is EXTREMELY hard to believe given my experiences flying AS 20+ flights during Covid. If I forget and leave my mask down for more than 30 seconds after eating or drinking I am quickly reminded. I recently even witnessed FAs confronting people with exposed noses to adjust their masks which was a welcomed sight. I understand that you were there and I generally lean towards a firsthand account. It's just strange that it's so different than what I've experienced so many times recently.
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Old Oct 28, 20, 7:40 am
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I'd certainly make a bigger/more public stink about AS not enforcing the mask usage on board. If that is their policy, they should be held accountable to enforcing it.
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Old Oct 28, 20, 10:44 am
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Originally Posted by mtofell View Post
This is EXTREMELY hard to believe given my experiences flying AS 20+ flights during Covid. If I forget and leave my mask down for more than 30 seconds after eating or drinking I am quickly reminded. I recently even witnessed FAs confronting people with exposed noses to adjust their masks which was a welcomed sight. I understand that you were there and I generally lean towards a firsthand account. It's just strange that it's so different than what I've experienced so many times recently.
I agree with you, it was hard to believe for me too. One of the reasons I've continued to fly AS (beside being 75K..) during the pandemic is that they've been really good about this. I've seen FAs remind folks, be very proactive, etc. That's why I was really surprised here, especially after I mentioned it to the FA. And this was a ~4 hour flight, so plenty of chances for a "reminder".
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Old Oct 28, 20, 10:47 am
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Originally Posted by bchandler02 View Post
I'd certainly make a bigger/more public stink about AS not enforcing the mask usage on board. If that is their policy, they should be held accountable to enforcing it.
I think if I hadn't seen how good they normally are, I would consider it. This is an outlier in my pandemic AS experiences but its unfortunate that it may have led to the spread of COVID.
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Old Oct 28, 20, 11:18 am
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Honestly..at this point, contact tracing and everything else regarding Covid is a joke. No one is making any real serious efforts. We are too big with too many folks and it costs money that cities/govt's don't have. I look at it this way...if you are flying, you've accepted that you could get Covid. The risk is low but it could happen. If you develop symptoms, get tested and stay home. If you don't, wearing your mask slows the spread if asymptomatic. As we've seen over and over again, if it's going to spread, it's going to spread. If you are going to get it, you are going to get it. If it's your time to punch the ticket, it's your time. I'm not advocating going and licking door handles, but basic precautions are enough. The cold harsh reality is that AS keeping the middle seat open is more PR gamble than actual science. They don't have the load counts anyways, so it just looks good that they are trying. It just reduces the chance of a positive person being on the plane via the numbers game. Mask enforcement has been on-point the entire time I've flown. Personally I don't want to know every time that I've been potentially exposed given the way the Gov't handles it. 2 week quarantine every time means that nobody would get anything done.
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Old Oct 28, 20, 3:11 pm
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Its all varies from flight to flight and seems to depend entirely on how serious the Flight Attendant wanted to enforce.

Ive been on some where I could barely finish a sip or bite before being reminded to pull my mask back up, while my flight last week from Tucson to PDX, most of the flight crew did an initial service and then spent 90% of the 3 hour flight up front with the curtain closed.
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Old Oct 30, 20, 4:43 pm
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Originally Posted by barabuski View Post
I've been reticent to post this because I love AS, but it seems like an issue to me.

A week ago, my and my partner flew back together (seperate tickets but sitting together) on an AS flight. There was surprisingly a lot of coughing around us, and folks across from us did not wear any masks the entire time beside takeoff and walking off the plane (I bugged a FA about this, to no avail).

Anyway - given the thread title, you may see where this is going -- after we got back (Tuesday), we made sure to stay home for a few days just to make sure we felt alright. Come Thursday night, I start to feel awful.. Yadda, yadda, I test positive for COVID. I immediately told AS and was basically told "sorry to hear, hope you feel better, thanks for letting us know."

I would expect me telling them to result in contact tracing passengers around me. However, best to my knowledge, they haven't. Why do I think that? Because my partner wasn't on my itinerary (but was sitting next to me), so theoretically they should have been a key person contacted for contact tracing.

I don't really have a question or any comment here other than I was surprised to see Alaska (apparently) not do contact tracing upon knowledge of a positive COVID test.
OP - hope you're feeling better and having a speedy recovery.

The discourse right now just sounds really weird because we hear airlines/research institutions are promoting flying is as safe as going to a grocery store.

"The International Air Transport Assn., the trade group for the world’s airlines, announced this month that there have been only 44 cases this year in which COVID-19 is believed to have been transmitted on a plane. By comparison, the group noted, about 1.2 billion travelers have flown on commercial flights worldwide in the same period."

If there are only 44 cases because of travel, them OP might be not one of them...

This LA times article is quite helpful:

https://www.latimes.com/business/sto...risk-airplanes
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Old Oct 31, 20, 2:39 pm
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This is terrible to read, shame on AS for not having its own program in place to notify passengers/ contact trace. I thought this was a prerequisite to them flying, wow, guess i thought very wrong. What a complete failure this country is right now. And to the person above who has resigned himself to “accepting the risk”, it didnt have to be this way and this is a huge weak link in the chain for certain communities where infection rates are still very low now. Contact tracing is essential for these heterogeneous environments (where are you are intermixing people coming from places where community spread is almost nonexistent right now with those where it is raging off the charts). The longer it takes to notify somebody who is going from a plane into a low infection rate community that they have been exposed, The greater the likelihood that these places will also see there infection rates shoot up.
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Old Oct 31, 20, 7:38 pm
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Originally Posted by lonelygod View Post
OP - hope you're feeling better and having a speedy recovery.

The discourse right now just sounds really weird because we hear airlines/research institutions are promoting flying is as safe as going to a grocery store.

"The International Air Transport Assn., the trade group for the world’s airlines, announced this month that there have been only 44 cases this year in which COVID-19 is believed to have been transmitted on a plane. By comparison, the group noted, about 1.2 billion travelers have flown on commercial flights worldwide in the same period."

If there are only 44 cases because of travel, them OP might be not one of them...

This LA times article is quite helpful:

https://www.latimes.com/business/sto...risk-airplanes
Yeah, very hard time believing the 44 cases number. I think that is partially because airlines are hesitant (and have a financial disincentive) to make the claim that someone got COVID from a flight, when there is plausible deniability it could have been from before the flight, the airport, or after the flight. No airline wants a headline of, "25 passengers confirmed with COVID after flying X airlines". Easy way to prevent that headline is to simply not do contact tracing internally..

And FWIW, I was never contacted by King County contact tracers anyway.
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