The Pentagon said Saturday that Defense Secretary Mark Esper has approved a request to provide military housing for up to 1,000 people who may need to be quarantined upon arrival in the United States from overseas travel due to concerns about possible infection from coronavirus.
The Pentagon said the Department of Health and Human Services requested that the Defense Department provide several facilities capable of housing at least 250 people in individual rooms through February 29. The Pentagon said the locations selected to assist, if needed, are: the 168th Regiment, Regional Training Institute in Fort Carson, Colorado; the Travis Air Force Base in California; the Lackland Air Force Base in Texas; the Marine Corps Air Station Miramar in California.
“Under the request, DOD will only provide housing support, while HHS will be responsible for all care, transportation, and security of the evacuees. DOD personnel will not be directly in contact with the evacuees and evacuees will not have access to any base location other than their assigned housing,” the Pentagon said in a statement.
“In accordance with (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) guidelines, all evacuees will be monitored for a period of 14 days. Should routine monitoring of the evacuees identify ill individuals, HHS has procedures in place to transport them to a local civilian hospital,” the statement continued.
The coronavirus outbreak has killed more than 300 people and infected over 14,000 people globally, as it continues to spread beyond China.
For comparison, in the 2019-2020 season so far, at least 19 million people in the US have gotten the flu and 10,000 people have died from it, including at least 68 children. Flu activity has been widespread in nearly every region, with high levels of activity in 41 states, the CDC reported this week.
Coronavirus has been confirmed in more than a dozen countries and territories since it was first detected in the Chinese city of Wuhan in December. Countries are now sending planes to evacuate their citizens from the infection zone, and imposing travel bans or restrictions on travelers from China.
Nearly 60 million people are under lockdown in Chinese cities as international researchers race to develop a vaccine and halt its spread.
None of the Americans being housed at a military base in Riverside County has shown signs of illness, but infected people don’t show symptoms immediately and may be able to pass on the virus before they appear sick.
A San Diego resident who possibly contracted the virus tested negative, the CDC confirmed Thursday, according to San Diego County officials.
In Ventura County, officials said one of two possible cases tested negative for coronavirus. Results for the second patient was pending as of Saturday morning, local authorities said