A Hawaiian Airlines flight attendant died after testing positive for COVID-19 earlier this month in California, following an employee training at the airline’s headquarters.
Hawaiian Airlines President & CEO Peter Ingram told employees in an internal memo distributed on Tuesday that Jeff Kurtzman, a senior Los Angeles-based flight attendant, died this week.
He had been a part of the airline since 1986, “and over the past three decades had become well known to his in-flight colleagues for his passion for discovering new places, people and cultures; his terrific sense of humor and knack for easy conversation; and his caring heart,” Ingram wrote in the memo, obtained by USA TODAY.
“Our in-flight team has reached out to Jeff’s husband and we will, of course, offer all the support that we can,” Ingram also wrote. “I know you will join me and our Hawaiian Airlines ‘ohana in keeping his family in your thoughts during this time.”
At least 17 flight attendants, including Kurtzman, tested positive for COVID-19 after attending training at Hawaiian Airlines’ Honolulu headquarters in late June, according to the airline, which canceled its training because of the circumstances.
“We are supporting our team members in their recovery, and other employees involved in the training have been self-monitoring their health, in accordance with CDC and state Department of Health guidance provided to us,” Alex Da Silva, a Hawaiian Airlines spokesperson, previously told USA TODAY. “We have also reinforced our office protocols to keep our employees safe and have temporarily canceled our flight attendant training in order to deep clean our facilities.”
“We continue to follow up with members of our ‘ohana who are recovering from the coronavirus,” Ingram also wrote in his note. “We are reminded every day that this virus is serious and highly transmissible. We have strengthened the mandates and protocols governing how we interact with each other at our facilities, and I urge us all to continue to practice the utmost vigilance.”
Guests are required to wear face masks on Hawaiian Airlines flights, and flight attendants wear them while serving guests, according to the airline’s website.
Mask requirements are a given when flying in North America.
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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: COVID-19: Hawaiian Airlines flight attendant dies after positive test