Couple Arrested for Boarding Flight After Testing Positive for COVID-19

Authorities say Wesley Moribe and Courtney Peterson knowingly had the disease when they took a flight from San Francisco to Kauai, Hawai.

San Francisco International Airport

Image via Getty/Daniel Slim/AFP

San Francisco International Airport

A Hawaiian couple was arrested this week after they boarded a flight while knowingly infected with coronavirus, law enforcement say.

According to ABC News, Wesley Moribe, 41, and Courtney Peterson, 46, were flying from San Francisco to Kauai when authorities discovered the couple had received positive COVID-19 results prior to their flight home. Police say Moribe and Peterson had participated in a mandatory pre-travel program that confirmed they were carrying the disease. Shortly after the results were confirmed, the couple were reportedly told to quarantine and not to travel; however, they allegedly ignored the orders and boarded their flight with a 4-year-old child.

"They knowingly boarded a flight aware of their positive COVID-19 test results, placing the passengers of the flight in danger of death," Kaua’i police said in statement. 

Officers said Moribe and Peterson arrived at Lihue Airport on Sunday, and were arrested on charges of second-degree reckless endangerment. They were released after posting bail, which was set at $1,000 each, and are now facing a $2,000 fine and up to a year behind bars if convicted.

NEW: Wailua couple Wesley Moribe & Courtney Peterson arrested for reckless endangerment at airport on Kauai — They both tested positive for #COVID19 but decided to get on United Airlines flight from San Francisco to Lihue anyway, putting other passengers at risk @KITV4

— Tom George (@TheTomGeorge) December 2, 2020

Back in mid-October, Hawaii announced travelers could bypass the required 14-day quarantine after arrival by simply providing proof of their negative test results. However, Kauai Mayor Derek Kawakami requested that the quarantine requirement be reinstated as COVID-19 cases continue to surge in the United States.

Hawaii Gov. David Ige approved the request and placed a temporary moratorium on Kaua'i's participation in the state's pre-travel testing program. The moratorium, which went into effect Wednesday, states "all transpacific and intercounty travelers arriving in Kaua‘i are subject to the 14-day quarantine regardless of testing."

"I’d like to thank Gov. Ige for approving Emergency Rule 23, temporarily pausing Kaua‘i’s participation in the state’s pre-travel testing program. Given the national surge of COVID cases on the mainland, Kaua‘i is unable to adequately protect itself by utilizing the Safe Travels program at this time," Kawakami said. "Our travel related cases are now leading to community spread across our island. This temporary pause in travel will allow us to remain in Tier 4 as long as possible, keeping youth sports playing and businesses open as we conduct surge testing and contact tracing. I will gladly repeal the moratorium once we have the virus under control again."

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