Pentagon Marks 11 Military Bases as Quarantine Centers for Coronavirus

ARLINGTON, VA - JANUARY 27: U.S. Secretary of Defense Mark Esper speaks during a bi-lateral news conference with Defense Minister Florence Parly at the Pentagon on January 27, 2020 in Arlington, Virginia. (Photo by Zach Gibson/Getty Images)
Zach Gibson/Getty Images

The Pentagon has identified 11 military bases as potential quarantine centers for Americans suffering from the coronavirus, the Department of Defense (DOD) announced on Tuesday.

The DOD named locations near 11 major airports that will be able to house additional passengers should the Health and Human Services facilities reach their maximum capacity.

The DOD stressed that these facilities are a tertiary option that they can use as a back-up. Some of the bases include the Great Lakes Training Center Navy Base in Illinois, Fort Hamilton in New York, and the Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base in Texas. Each location will house a maximum of 20 people who need to go under quarantined observation.

“DOD personnel will not be in direct contact with the evacuees and will minimize contact with personnel supporting the evacuees,” the agency announced in a news release. “Should routine monitoring of the evacuees identify ill individuals, HHS has procedures in place to transport them to a local civilian medical facility.”

“HHS will also ensure that no evacuated personnel are transferred to any DOD installation if they are infected or ill,” it continued. “The department continues to work closely with its interagency partners, while monitoring the situation. DOD has assessed this support will not negatively impact readiness or critical operations.”

A total of 13 cases of the coronavirus have so far been confirmed in the United States in California, Wisconsin, Massachusetts, Illinois, Washington state, and Arizona. The 13th case is an American citizen who was recently flown home from Wuhan by the State Department. Following his arrival at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar in San Diego last week, he was taken to a hospital where health workers confirmed he had contracted the virus.

Health officials in Riverside County, California, revealed on Tuesday that the other 195 Americans who were evacuated from Hubei have now been released from a 14-day quarantine at the March Air Reserve Base and are not carrying the disease.

“They have completed their final health check this morning, which included their symptom check and their temperature check,” said Rear Adm. Dr. Nancy Knight of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, following their release. “They pose no health risk to themselves, to their families, to their places of work, to schools or their communities — no health risk of novel coronavirus from these individuals whatsoever.”

The coronavirus outbreak remains an international health emergency as classified by the World Health Organization. As of Wednesday afternoon, there were approximately 41,500 cases confirmed worldwide, the vast majority of which are on the Chinese mainland. At least 1115 people have died, while a further 4,475 have made a full recovery.

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