Home Health News What we know about the COVID-19 death of Dallas County woman on a Texas-bound flight in July – The Dallas Morning News

What we know about the COVID-19 death of Dallas County woman on a Texas-bound flight in July – The Dallas Morning News

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Two days after announcing that a Dallas County woman had died of COVID-19 on a flight to Texas in July, health officials revised their account of the case. But questions linger because their description of what happened differs from details provided by an airport spokeswoman.

Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins has said officials can’t provide many details because of privacy laws, but his chief of staff, Lauren Trimble, said Tuesday that the county’s report two days earlier that a Garland woman had died in Arizona was incorrect.

In fact, she said, the woman, who was in her 30s, was a Dallas resident who died in New Mexico. Trimble said Tuesday evening that the Texas Department of State Health Services recently notified Dallas County’s health department of the death.

Jenkins previously said the woman died July 25, after she had trouble breathing and was administered oxygen. She died before takeoff, while the plane was on the tarmac, he said.

But a spokeswoman for Albuquerque International Sunport, Stephanie Kitts, said the woman died the evening of July 24, after a Spirit Airlines flight from Las Vegas to DFW International Airport was diverted to Albuquerque.

The flight changed course because of an “unresponsive female” on board, Kitts said. The woman was dead when the plane landed.

The staff treated the situation as a typical medical diversion and was unaware until later that the woman had COVID-19, Kitts said. It is unclear whether the woman knew she had the coronavirus.

Spirit Airlines couldn’t immediately be reached for comment Tuesday, and it’s unknown how many people were on the flight or whether contact tracing was performed.

Airlines for America, a trade group of major airlines, said commercial flights were about 46% full in late July.

County officials said the woman had underlying high-risk health problems, but they didn’t provide further details.

Records in New Mexico about her death were unavailable because the data must be searched by name rather than the date or circumstances of death, a spokeswoman for New Mexico’s Office of the Medical Investigator said.

It’s unclear which agency handled the investigation of the death. The New Mexico and Texas health departments had not responded Tuesday evening to questions about the case.

A representative for Nevada’s health department deferred to the Southern Nevada Health District, but a spokeswoman there said that she didn’t know about the case and that the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention would investigate COVID-19 cases that involve air travel.

The CDC didn’t immediately respond to questions Tuesday.

The county included the woman’s death Sunday in its roundup of residents who had contracted and died from COVID-19, though the death occurred out of state nearly three months ago.

Jenkins told WFAA-TV (Channel 8) the county learned in August that a Dallas County resident had died on a flight but was informed only recently that it was caused by the coronavirus.

Staff writer Nataly Keomoungkhoun contributed to this report.

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