Chicago teacher makes most of four-hour quarantine in plane’s bathroom after testing positive midflight

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A Chicago woman reportedly spent four hours of a five-hour transatlantic flight in a cramped bathroom after a rapid test indicated that she was COVID-19 positive.

A TikTok video of what she described as the “VIP quarantine quarters” subsequently went viral.

On a flight from Newark, N.J., to Reykjavik, Iceland, Marisa Fotieo reportedly began experiencing a sore throat, although she had tested negative several times before leaving.

She had packed some of the test kits in her carry-on bag and took one to the bathroom to take it.

When it gave a positive result for the virus, Fotieo said she “freaked out,” and an Icelandair flight attendant named Rocky suggested she stay put for the time being while she sorted things out.

When it turned out that there were no empty seats on the packed flight that could provide a way to properly isolate her from the rest of the passengers, Fotieo graciously volunteered to remain in the lavatory for the duration.

“Rocky was so sweet and brought me water and snacks,” she added, “and told me that would be my own little space,” she told ABC Grand Rapids, Mich., affiliate WZZM 13.

@marisaefotieoShout out to @Icelandair for my VIP quarantine quarters.. ##luxuryliving ##imsolucky ##covid ##vaccinated ##fyp ##viralvideotiktok ##quarantine♬ I’m So Lucky Lucky – Grandzz

“I can’t believe I spent four hours in that bathroom,” the woman who is originally from Grand Rapids, but now works as a teacher in Chicago, admitted, “but you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do. I really think that this is the truth about this new world we’re in, everybody really needs to look out for each other.”

Fotieo’s companions, her father and brother (who tested negative upon arrival), went on to their destination in Switzerland.

The upbeat traveler, even as she spent the holiday alone, remained in a 10-day quarantine (which ends on Thursday, December 30) in a “cozy room” in a Red Cross humanitarian hotel in Reykjavik, where she was looked after by medical personnel.

Friendly and thoughtful flight attendant Rocky even brought her some Christmas presents.

“Fotieo said her father and brother plan to return to Reykjavik when her quarantine period is over and then they will spend four days in Iceland doing excursions like snowmobiling and seeing the Northern Lights,” WZZM reported.

In addition to the other passengers’ well-being, Fotieo — who lost her mother two years ago — explained that her father’s health was a prime consideration, so that’s why “I just knew I had to stay in the bathroom.”

Watch a report from WZZM:

Although the rules are different in Europe, the CDC this week suddenly reduced the isolation window from 10 days to five if asymptomatic.

In more newly updated guidance, the CDC also no longer requires testing at the end of isolation because PCR tests are unreliable in that they supposedly stay positive for up to 12 weeks.


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