SAQ: Why was JBSA-Lackland chosen to hold coronavirus evacuees?

235 people quarantined in San Antonio

Flight with quarantined passengers from cruise ship lands at JBSA-Lackland

SAN ANTONIO – Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland was selected as one of the locations to hold quarantined patients who may have been exposed to the coronavirus while overseas in China. KSAT viewers sent in questions asking why the San Antonio U.S. Air Force Base was chosen to hold the evacuees.

JBSA-Lackland says 145 passengers who arrived from the Diamond Princess cruise ship Monday morning will remain under quarantine on the base, bringing the total of those quarantined in San Antonio to 235.

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When KSAT asked officials at JBSA-Lackland why their base was chosen as a quarantine site, they said the Department of Defense chose it because it has the resources required to meet the needs of this effort.

“JBSA has some of the largest lodging capacity in the DOD, including the most single rooms without shared bathrooms, space to isolate quarantined passengers from the rest of the installation and local population, and easy access to world-class medical facilities in the San Antonio community,” said officials with JBSA-Lackland in a statement to KSAT.

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Officials said JBSA-Lackland has a flight line with secured boundaries that are capable of receiving large commuter aircraft.

The following is a continuation of the statement sent to KSAT:

“JBSA is able to provide the support requested without negatively impacting readiness or critical operations, as well as Team JBSA has a history of providing humanitarian support and shelter to persons displaced by natural disasters

“JBSA and the San Antonio community have a long reputation for partnership, and we will continue to work together to ensure quarantined U.S. residents are kept safe and secure until they are released by HHS/CDC and able to resume their lives.”

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About the Author:

Ivan Herrera has worked as a journalist in San Antonio since 2016. His work for KSAT 12 and includes covering breaking news of the day, as well as producing Q&As and content for the "South Texas Pride" and "KSAT Money" series.