A JetBlue flight attendant on vacation in Jamaica tested positive for coronavirus, causing the country a headache.
American tests positive for coronavirus in Jamaica, forced to quarantine
Kalina Collier is a 22-year-old JetBlue flight attendant who decided to vacation in Jamaica in late January. She arrived in the country on January 28th and was due to leave on February 1st.
The US now requires coronavirus testing before traveling, which means she needed to be tested before returning to the US. On January 30, she took a rapid antigen test and tested positive for coronavirus. An hour later, she received a second rapid antigen test and tested negative for coronavirus.
At that point, she was quarantined. Given the conflicting results of the rapid antigen tests, she received a PCR test on Feb.2, which is known to be much more accurate. Well, that test came back positive too, so at that point she had to go through a 14-day quarantine (based on the timeline, it seems like she already had coronavirus before coming to Jamaica).
During the quarantine, Collier made a live Instagram video explaining that she had been mistreated, held in a room against her will, separated from her friends and family, etc. She mentioned being in a room was brought to the room and not given a key to it, as if this was kind of the equivalent of being hostage-taken when in reality this is a standard quarantine policy.
While the Ocean Coral Spring Hotel let her stay for free, she wasn’t happy with the quality of the room (it apparently wasn’t very clean, only had a sheet and pillow, and didn’t have a lot of art on the wall so she speculated that these rooms were maybe for swingers … hmmm) and she wasn’t happy that the hotel was trying to charge her for room service as it was an all inclusive (despite the fact that she had them stay komped).
How did a standard quarantine become a message?
While I can appreciate that her accommodations might not have been very luxurious, all in all it sounds like she did pretty well to me – she wasn’t moved to a government facility, and her stay was even compensated. The woman received inconsistent test results, which is frustrating, but rapid antigen tests are known to be not particularly accurate. The PCR test is much more reliable, and she tested positive with it.
How do we get from the above situation to many setbacks on social media against the hotel and Jamaica and even hashtags like #FindKalinaCollier and #SaveKalinaCollier?
Well, it seems that Instagram live made some people believe she was kidnapped or held hostage, especially after being silent on social media for a few days.
To the best of my knowledge, Collier never specifically stated she was being held hostage or abducted, despite suggesting that she was held in the room against her will. Ideally, people could read between the lines and not think they are unhappy about being quarantined when in fact they are being kidnapped, but then again, the nuance is often lost on the internet. On the other hand, I am not sure if it is reasonable to claim that you are being held against your will after testing positive for coronavirus.
The situation got so bad that police did a wellness check to make sure she was okay, and later the country tried to get her to make a statement that she was okay (to the outcry from the social Stop media), although she refused.
Collier finally returned to the United States the weekend after her quarantine.
There are many potential risks and logistical challenges associated with travel these days, especially international travel with testing requirements. Whenever you travel, be prepared for the reality of what could happen if you test positive for coronavirus. This is especially true when you are in a foreign country.
A flight attendant should know better than most about these risks and not be upset if they have to be quarantined for 14 days after a positive test. It doesn’t matter that the hotel made up for their additional two week stay, which is downright generous.
It seems that Collier was out of line in her behavior, although it is clear that some of the people on social media trying to help her may have only made the situation worse by pointing out that she was somehow was missed.
What do you think of this situation?