The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said it temporarily halted flights arriving at New York City airports and Philadelphia on Saturday after a trainee at the New York Air Route Traffic Control Center tested positive for COVID-19.
That forced the FAA to close some air space sectors and reroute flights. In a statement, the FAA said that the technician hadn't been to work since March 11 and that the tower was being cleaned as a precaution.
The FAA issued a hold on flights landing at New York area airports. The order cited staffing issues at the New York Air Traffic Control Center before allowing flights to resume.
It has had a series of issues this week surrounding COVID-19 cases, forcing the cancellation of more than 1,000 flights and the closing of towers earlier this week at Chicago Midway and Las Vegas. The FAA on Friday temporarily closed the tower at New York's JFK, which led to some flight cancellations.
New York state's confirmed COVID-19 cases soared above 10,000 Saturday. State officials said they're scouring the globe for desperately needed medical supplies and scouting field hospital locations in the New York City area. The Federal Emergency Management Agency has declared a major disaster in the state, freeing up access to billions of dollars in relief funding.