The Civil Air Patrol squadron located at March Air Reserve Base called off its meeting Monday evening as a precaution while health officials continue to monitor nearly 200 government employees under quarantine after they were possibly exposed to the coronavirus in China.
“It is in the best interest of our members to cancel the meeting,” said Maj. Raymond Gould, Civil Air Patrol Squadron 45 commander, in an email obtained by City News Service. “There is no credible threat to the health of our members, or the surrounding communities of March Air Reserve Base. We are merely being over cautious.”
The squadron generally meets in a building on the south end of the base. The quarantine site for the U.S. State Department and other government workers who were evacuated last month from Wuhan, China, is to the west. Business on the base is carrying on as usual, according to officials.
“All (quarantined personnel) have been screened three times, and no one is presenting any symptoms of the Wuhan coronavirus,” Gould said. “The federal government is merely exercising an abundance of caution.”
CAP Squadron 45 is a so-called “composite squadron,” numbering both cadets ages 12-19 and adults of all ages. The unit serves a variety of functions within the California Wing of the Civil Air Patrol, which is also known as the Air Force Auxiliary.
Gould said he consulted Wing staff and March ARB officials before making the decision to cancel the meeting.
In addition to March, federal officials have designated four other bases around the country as quarantine sites, according to Rep. Mark Takano, D-Riverside.
Takano said he and his staff have been in regular contact with officials from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other agencies to stay abreast of developments.
According to published reports, the novel coronavirus epidemic has claimed at least 360 lives in China, exceeding the death toll of the severe acute respiratory syndrome — SARS — outbreak of 2003. More than 17,000 infections have been documented. The respiratory illness is treatable, and many patients are recovering, according to reports.
Federal officials said there have been 11 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the United States, with six of those in California, including one case each in Los Angeles and Orange counties. Temporary quarantine and processing sites have been established at major airports.
The virus was first identified by the Chinese government on Dec. 31, when authorities indicated an unknown pneumonia variant was impacting residents of Hubei Province.
Since then, the 2019-nCoV has been confirmed in a dozen countries, according to the World Health Organization.