ORLANDO, FL. – As part of our ongoing preparedness efforts, Orlando International Airport emergency management leaders met with officials from The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), local & county public health officials, EMS agencies, law enforcement and federal partners this afternoon to discuss potential scenarios and review the airport’s emergency health plans, which cover COVID-19 (Coronavirus) response protocols.
There are no reported cases of Coronavirus in Florida to date. There are 11 airports around the country, none of which are in Florida, where flights from China are being routed so that passengers can be screened for the virus. If someone is suspected to have the disease, they are evaluated at a local hospital or health care facility.
“For public health incidents such as this, the Greater Orlando Aviation Authority (GOAA) relies on proven and established emergency response plans,” says Tom Draper, Senior Director of Airport Operations for the Greater Orlando Aviation Authority. “Similar to potential hurricanes, GOAA leaders have been actively monitoring the Coronavirus and communicating with our partners in regards to action plans or necessary steps in response to the COVID-19.”
The airport emergency health plan includes the following:
- Identifying which agency will respond to a potential situation, GOAA, local and/or federal agencies
- Identifying the appropriate course of action including the potential of diverting flights to federally identified quarantine stations (which Orlando is not)
- How to respond to varying numbers of potential patients and those around them onboard an aircraft
- Securing extra protective equipment for first responding Aircraft Rescue and Fire Fighting (ARFF) personnel should an incident arise
- Increasing the airport’s cleaning schedule
At this time, which is also cold and flu season, CDC officials continue to urge people to take routine health precautions such as covering their mouths when they cough and sneeze, washing hands regularly and observing social distancing. Following standard cleaning recommendations, Orlando International had already increased the airport’s cleaning schedule to best combat the cold and flu season.
It should be stressed, Orlando International Airport does NOT have direct air service to China or that region of the world. MCO has not been affected by the illness, but airport leaders are prepared to respond as necessary and as directed by the CDC.