The commanding officer of Marine Corps Air Station Miramar sent a letter to all base personnel and their families Monday preparing them for what he termed “minor changes to daily life around the base” related to quarantining of American citizens returning from China who may have come in contact with the coronavirus.
Dockery said Miramar’s role was to assist the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in a dignified repatriation process.
“There are several pieces of information that I can give you that are important,” he wrote. “All repatriates going through the quarantine process have been screened multiple times by U.S. medical professionals and do not display symptoms of the coronavirus.
“Repatriates will be confined throughout quarantine and there will be no contact with DOD personnel. I cannot give you a timeframe for completion, but what I know is that the quarantine duration is 14 days. Finally, you should know that any person exhibiting symptoms during the quarantine period will be transferred off-station for care.”
The Department of Defense released footage of the quarantined citizens’ accommodations in the base’s “Consolidated Bachelor Quarters.” The hotel-like accommodations are capable of housing at least 250 people in individual rooms through Feb. 29.
It is not known when the returnees will arrive at MCAS Miramar.
The Defense Department on Saturday approved the use of additional military facilities across the country, including MCAS Miramar, to serve as repatriation centers for U.S. diplomats and American citizens returning from China who may have come in contact with the coronavirus, a new virus that is a member of the coronavirus family that’s a close cousin to the SARS and MERS viruses that have caused outbreaks in the past.
Defense Secretary Mark Esper approved the request from the Department of Health and Human Services.
The other bases are Travis Air Force Base in Northern California; the 168th Regiment, Regional Training Institute, in Fort Carson, Colorado; and Lackland Air Force Base in Texas.
HHS is responsible for providing medical and standard care, transportation and security for evacuees.
The passengers who will arrive at Miramar will have been screened twice for signs of the virus, according to base officials. All passengers will be held on the military base to undergo an additional 14 days of screening to ensure they do not pose a health risk to the public.
Passengers will be provided food, water, lodging and sundries while on the base from Health and Human Services and receive medical care if required, according to 2nd. Lt. Shawn Doublet, deputy director of communications at Miramar.
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