Las Vegas Casinos Enhance Cleanings, LAX Screeners Revealed To Have COVID-19

Posted on: March 6, 2020, 07:41h. 

Last updated on: March 8, 2020, 10:43h.

Two medical screeners at Los Angeles International Airport tested positive for coronavirus, health officials announced this week. The news is of concern to passengers heading to McCarran International Airport, because many non-direct flights to Las Vegas first land at LAX before passengers board a second flight to McCarran.

People wear face masks at Los Angeles International Airport earlier this week. Two medical screeners at LAX recently tested positive for coronavirus. (Image: Getty Images)

In response, the Los Angeles airport installed more than 250 additional hand sanitizer dispensers. Restrooms and public areas are getting cleaned by crews at least once an hour.

Special attention is paid to elevator buttons, escalators, handrails, and restroom doors. Cleaning crews are also using disinfectants targeted against viruses and bacteria.

In a statement to on Friday, a McCarran spokesman said its cleaning crews are also using hospital-grade disinfectant on all high-touch surfaces around the Las Vegas airport, such as kiosks, escalators, door handles, etc.

With the emergence of the coronavirus in Clark County, we have increased the frequency of application and expanded the areas of the airport that are covered,” the McCarran statement said.

“This is not a new precaution — McCarran makes these extra efforts to sanitize every flu season,” the statement adds.

“The disinfectant in use is recommended by the CDC [Centers for Disease Control] to combat COVID-19 and is being applied in the highest concentration for maximum impact.”

Cleanliness Is Key for MGM Hotels

In Las Vegas, MGM Resorts International, which operates several hotel-casinos on the Strip and elsewhere in the US, is placing more hand sanitizer dispensers in its properties, cleaning proactively, and using disinfectants more frequently, the company said in a statement on Friday. Among the items getting cleaned more thoroughly are slot machine handles and armrests.

The health and safety of our guests and employees is our highest priority and we have taken measures to combat the potential impacts on our resorts and facilities. In addition to continually upholding MGM Resorts’ high standards of cleanliness, maintenance and sanitation at our properties, we’ve implemented temporary enhanced cleaning procedures and protocols,” the MGM statement said.

Las Vegas Sands Corp. is taking similar measures, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported. Last week, Wynn Las Vegas told the gaming company installed “hand sanitizers in public areas” and “back-of-house for team members.” The installation was described as a “precaution.”

Flights Continue to Get Canceled

In recent weeks, numerous international flights between the US and regions highly impacted by the coronavirus were temporarily suspended. These include flights from China, and some from South Korea and Italy.

All US-bound passengers on remaining flights from Italy and South Korea are getting screened “multiple times” for any signs of the coronavirus, Vice President Mike Pence announced on Wednesday.

As of last September, McCarran had direct flights from over 20 international destinations. There were no direct flights between Las Vegas and China.

This week, it was further reported that US airlines were cutting the number of domestic flights, too. These include carriers such as United Airlines and JetBlue Airways. Between December 2018 and last November, the busiest domestic route at McCarran was to and from Los Angeles. It included 1,555,000 passengers, according to a Bureau of Transportation report.

The CDC announced on Thursday that older adults, or people with severe chronic illness, are at higher risk for COVID-19 complications. They should “stay at home as much as possible,” the CDC advised in an online statement.

Dr. William Schaffner, a Vanderbilt University professor who advises the CDC, said these two risk groups should also avoid large crowds, such as found when traveling by airplane, CNN reported.

Airlines could lose up to $113 billion if COVID-19 continues, according to the International Air Transport Association.

Las Vegas’ Chinatown Impacted

Some Las Vegas restaurants are seeing fewer customers because of coronavirus fears. That is especially the case in Chinatown, the Review-Journal reported.

It is evidenced by a half-empty parking lot at Las Vegas’ Chinatown Plaza, the report adds. Henda Chow, owner/manager of Chinatown’s Harbor Palace, told the Review-Journal business is off 60 to 70 percent.

Even though the US risk of contracting coronavirus remains relatively low, local and federal health officials recommend a more thorough washing of hands. For instance, hands should be scrubbed for at least 20 seconds. Make sure to clean under fingernails and between fingers, and avoid touching your face and avoid close contact with people who are sick.

The Southern Nevada Health District (SVHD) has set up a coronavirus hot line, 702-759-4636. The line is open from 9 am to 5 pm, Monday through Friday.

The one person in Clark County to test positive for COVID-19 was in serious condition Friday afternoon. The unnamed resident is in isolation at the VA Medical Center in North Las Vegas, a hospital spokesman told the media on Thursday.

Coronavirus Patient Recently Visited Washington, Texas

Health department officials said the local patient recently traveled to the states of Washington and Texas.

Currently, McCarran “has not been advised of a need … to conduct any coronavirus screening or related activity at the airport,”  spokesman Joseph Rajchel told on Friday.