(NEWARK, N.J.) — A total of 329 Transportation Security Administration employees have tested positive for COVID-19 and two have died according to an internal briefing led by TSA Administrator David Pekoske, and viewed by ABC News.
The reported number increased by 162 in the past week, while 13 of those employees have recovered, Pekoske said.
Francis “Frank” Boccabella III, 39, who worked for the agency as an explosive detection canine handler at Newark Liberty Airport, was the first TSA employee to die.
“Frank was dedicated to protecting the traveling public with his canine partner, Bullet, a 6-year-old German Short-haired Pointer and his previous canine partner, Zmay,” the TSA said in a statement. “Frank and his canine partners screened hundreds of thousands of passengers, keeping them and the transportation network safe.”
Alberto Camacho, a branch manager in the Acquisition Program Management office, died last week, according to the TSA.
“For over 20 years Alberto dedicated his career to both transportation and aviation security, and his contributions to TSA and our mission will not be forgotten,” the agency said in a statement.
“We mourn their loss but we celebrate what they have been able to contribute over the course of their time in TSA,” Pekoske said in the briefing.
The agency has begun to allow its workers to wear N95 masks, goggles and surgical masks. Pekoske said the TSA has purchased at least 60,000 sets of eye protection for its employees.
Amid the coronavirus pandemic, the number of passengers screened by the agency has reached record lows.
The agency screened 94,931 passengers at U.S. airports Wednesday compared to 2,229,276 on the same day last year.
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