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Longtime TSA worker at MSP Airport dies after contracting COVID-19

Gerald Girard worked for nearly 13 years at the airport.

A longtime TSA employee at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport died from complications associated with COVID-19.

Gerald "Teddy" Girard worked for nearly 13 years as a TSA officer at the airport, TSA said. He died Tuesday at age 67 after being hospitalized last week, the Star Tribune notes.

Girard began working for TSA at MSP Airport in December 2007. He was certified to do security screening in both the checkpoint and in checked baggage. 

"Officer Girard was committed to the TSA mission and was diligent in carrying out his screening responsibilities," TSA said in a statement. "He is remembered as being good-natured, regularly re-connecting with old friends when they were flying out of MSP and making new acquaintances while doing his job."

He was married to his wife Terra for 41 years, TSA said. They have two adult children. 

Girard, who was from Minneapolis, is one of eight TSA employees who have died from the coronavirus, TSA's website shows

He isn't the only TSA official at MSP Airport to die from COVID-19. Senior Federal Air Marshal Kenneth Meisel, who was with the Minneapolis Field Office, died Sept. 24 after contracting the virus, TSA said

In total, 2,102 TSA employees have tested positive for COVID-19, including 19 employees at MSP Airport (18 screening officers and one non-screening employee) who may have had direct interactions with the public, according to TSA.

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The agency tracks the last work date of the most recent screening officer who is confirmed to have COVID-19 at each airport. For MSP Airport, that date is Oct. 3.

TSA says passengers who believe they may have come in contact with someone who has COVID-19 within the past 14 days should follow the federal Centers of Disease Control and Prevention’s recommendations for travel-associated exposure, which include practicing social distancing, wearing a mask, watching for symptoms and following local recommendations for requirements after travel. 

For those who traveled from a country or state where community transmission is high or increasing or those who went on a cruise ship or riverboat, the CDC recommends isolating for 14 days after traveling and getting tested for COVID-19.

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