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The tower at John Wayne Airport in Orange County, Calif., temporarily closed on Friday due to concerns over a possible coronavirus infection from an employee. After further testing, however, the worker was cleared and the tower reopened.
On Friday, the tower was closed for cleaning and quarantine purposes after an employee showed a positive result on a presumptive test, the Los Angeles Times reported.
While the tower was closed, the airport’s traffic was handled by the Federal Aviation Administration’s regional control center in San Diego.
That same day, the John Wayne Aiport Twitter account posted the following message: “Due to a suspected but unconfirmed case of COVID-19, the FAA Tower at JWA is closed. In the interim, JWA air traffic is handled by the FAA’s regional control center. The Airport remains open to commercial aircraft. Please check with your airline regarding specific flight info.”
Further testing came back negative, however, and the tower was cleared to reopen the following day.
When the tower was originally shut down, airport officials said they didn’t expect any significant delays due to the fact that fewer flights are coming and going from the airport amid the current coronavirus pandemic, the Orange County Register reported.
According to the news outlet, the regional control center could only handle about 10 arrivals each hour, as opposed to the normal 28 during the airport’s busy times. A spokesperson for the airport told the outlet that volume was down from normal conditions, however, and that the airport was dealing with cancellations every day.