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EMT who helped dying passenger notified of COVID-19 exposure 10 days after flight, he says

Airlines Outlook United planes flight
Posted at 12:28 PM, Dec 29, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-29 14:31:05-05

An EMT who performed CPR on a fellow passenger who had a medical emergency onboard earlier this month, and later died from COVID-19, says he was just notified by his health department about his possible exposure - 10 days after the flight.

Tony Adalpa was on the Dec. 14 United flight from Orlando to Los Angeles, when a man became ill. Adalpa, trained as an EMT, began helping the man, identified as 69-year-old Isais Hernandez, along with flight attendants and others onboard. Adalpa says he performed CPR for about 45 minutes, and stayed near Hernandez as the plane made an early landing in New Orleans and Hernandez was taken to the hospital.

Hernandez died, and the coroner reported the cause of death was COVID-19.

United at the time believed he had suffered cardiac arrest and continued on to LAX. Adalpa took to Twitter to talk about the incident, and that he was feeling symptoms of COVID-19 about a week after the flight. He has reportedly taken multiple COVID-19 tests, with negative results.

On Sunday, December 27, Adalpa tweeted he was contacted by his health department.

“The whole world knows I was exposed and it took the County 10 days to notify me. I haven't heard anything from @CDCgov ... there's still people form the flight that haven't heard from anyone at all!(sic)” Adalpa tweeted.

His tweet shared an animated video made by the CDC that talked about contact tracing.

Other passengers on the Dec. 14 flight are being contacted by Los Angeles County health officials, according to KABC in Los Angeles.

United Airlines said they were working with the CDC on providing information about the flight and passengers, “so they can work with local health officials to conduct outreach to any customer the CDC believes may be at risk for possible exposure or infection," a representative for the airline told CBS LA earlier this month.

United says Hernandez had filled out a questionnaire before boarding the flight, which asked about testing positive for COVID-19 and having symptoms. It is now apparent the man "wrongly acknowledged this requirement,” the airline said.