SAN ANTONIO – Update:
Joint Base San Antonio will hold a town hall forum Wednesday, Feb. 5 for JBSA personnel and families regarding the quarantine zone for those who may be infected with coronavirus.
The forum will be held at the Gateway Club, located at JBSA-Lackland at 5 p.m., according to Joint Base SA’s Facebook page.
JBSA personnel and their families are invited to the town hall to address any questions or concerns they may have regarding the quarantine zone.
Officials from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will also speak at the forum, JBSA says.
JBSA said in part in a Facebook post on Sunday:
“We hear and understand the concerns of our community and family members regarding JBSA’s support for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for the potential repatriation of American citizens who are subject to federal quarantine.”
JBSA also wants to clarify that the housing support will be temporary during the quarantine period, as said in the post.
The passengers will be housed at both the Gateway Inn and the Gateway Villa and will not have access to any other installation locations.
The coronavirus is making waves across the nation... and it’s making an impact right here in San Antonio.
Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland will serve as a potential quarantine zone for those who may be infected with the coronavirus, as announced by officials on Saturday.
Assistant to the Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs Jonathan Hoffman said in a tweet that Secretary of Defense Dr. Mark T. Esper has approved a Request for Applications (RFA)for housing support for 1,000 people who may need to be quarantined after arriving from traveling overseas in case they become infected with the coronavirus.
.@EsperDOD has approved an RFA from #HHS for housing support for 1,000 people who may need to be quarantined upon arrival from overseas travel due to the novel #coronoravirus. Under the request, DOD will only provide housing support.— Jonathan Rath Hoffman (@ChiefPentSpox) February 1, 2020
Lackland Air Force Base will be one of four quarantine zones that will provide housing for those that may have contracted the virus when traveling overseas, per officials.
1) In support of the Department of Health and Human Service's request to the DOD to provide facilities capable of housing at least 250 people in individual rooms through February 29, 2020, Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland was selected. Base officials are actively coordinating this— JointBaseSanAntonio (@JBSA_Official) February 2, 2020
LAFB officials say there will be a hotel-like facility that will serve as a shelter for military personnel and American contractors traveling from China to be screened for the coronavirus on base.
San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg issued this statement Saturday night, saying the Metro Health Department will also be monitoring the situation as a precautionary measure.
“We were notified that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and Department of Defense have decided to evacuate American citizens from China and quarantine them at U. S. military installations, including Lackland Air Force Base. We have been told that these individuals have no symptoms of the virus and pose no risk to our community. We should all be comforted by the extra precautions being taken by federal, state and local health officials," said Nirenberg. "We do not currently have any individuals diagnosed with the coronavirus here in San Antonio, and our Metro Health Department will continue to monitor the situation and exercise an abundance of caution.”
U.S. Rep. Will Hurd, of San Antonio, released the following statement Sunday in regards to the decision:
“My focus is on the public health and safety of all Americans, which is why I have been in contact with the department and agency officials dealing with the American response to what the World Health Organization has deemed a ‘Public Health Emergency of International Concern.’ The Americans being returned from overseas travel in China will have been screened three times for coronavirus before disembarking at secured facilities at Lackland Air Force Base. These individuals will then undergo a 14-day quarantine to be closely monitored.
“The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are continually assessing the situation and at the time of the release of this statement CDC believes the immediate risk of coronavirus to the general public in the United States is low. However, they have strongly recommended that all Americans suspend travel to China, and if you have recently visited China and are exhibiting signs of the flu you should immediately seek medical care.”
According to Hoffman, the approved quarantine zones in the U.S. include:
- The 168th Regiment, Regional Training Institute in Fort Carson, CO
- Travis Air Force Base, CA
- Lackland Air Force Base, TX
- Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, CA
The following installations have been selected to assist #HHS evacuation operations, if needed:— Jonathan Rath Hoffman (@ChiefPentSpox) February 1, 2020
-The 168th Regiment, Regional Training Institute, Fort Carson, CO
-Travis Air Force Base, CA
-Lackland Air Force Base, TX
-Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, CA
The United States Department of Defense is on board with the operation and said this will not “negatively impact readiness or critical operations at this time.”
As of now, thousands of people globally have been infected with the coronavirus - most in China.
The department continues to work closely with our interagency partners, while monitoring the situation. DOD has assessed this support will not negatively impact readiness or critical operations at this time.— Jonathan Rath Hoffman (@ChiefPentSpox) February 1, 2020
In the U.S., as of Saturday, there are eight confirmed infection cases. The latest case was diagnosed in Boston, Massachusetts, health officials say.
We’ll bring more details as they become available.