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8,000 Delta Airlines employees tested positive for COVID-19 over four weeks

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8,000 Delta Airlines employees tested positive for COVID-19 over four weeks
Over 20,000 U.S. flights were delayed or canceled because of the latest Omicron coronavirus surge. Photo by Bill Greenblatt/UPI | License Photo

Jan. 13 (UPI) -- Around 8,000 out of 75,000 Delta Airlines employees tested positive for COVID-19 in the last four weeks, adding to the thousands of flights canceled over the holiday season.

Delta CEO Ed Bastian confirmed that the Omicron variant ripped through the company and that employees are returning to work, allowing operations to continue.

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The company reported a loss for the quarter and expects more losses for the first quarter of the year.

Bastian said the airline lost about $75 million in revenue from flight cancellations and a loss of bookings while storms cost the airline another $5 million.

RELATED CDC predicts up to 62,000 COVID-19 deaths over next month

Winter storms and sick airline employees led to the cancellation of more than 20,000 U.S. flights between Christmas Eve and the first week of January.

United Airlines CEO Scott Kirby said that 3,000 of its 70,000 U.S. employees tested positive for COVID-19 during that time.

Delta, with other airlines, urged the Centers for Disease and Control Prevention to reduce the isolation time for positive cases from 10 days to five days.

RELATED COVID-19 vaccines prevented 240K deaths, 1.1M hospitalizations in U.S., study finds

The airline changed its policy after the CDC made adjustments, offering staff five days of paid leave if they tested positive for the virus.

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The Atlanta-based airline only canceled about 1% of its flight schedule last week and no employees have died from the virus, Bastian confirmed.

"We're already probably well past the peak as affecting our own staff," Bastian told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "Things are moving in a good direction for us. The doctors have told us it will decline as rapidly as it appeared and they seem to be right."

RELATED Dr. Fauci, other U.S. health officials draw criticism in Senate hearing over COVID-19 changes

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