The dependent of a military retiree tested presumptively positive this week for COVID-19 at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland after returning to the U.S. from a trip to South Korea and the Philippines.
According to Joint Base Andrews’ 11th Wing, the dependent tested positive after undergoing a test at Joint Base Andrews Malcom Grow Clinic on March 11 after experiencing cold-like symptoms. Presumptive positive tests mean they are awaiting confirmation from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, but are still treated as positive results, per the CDC.
“We are focused on the health of our base personnel and their families,” Air Force Col. Andrew Purath, commander of the 11th Wing and Joint Base Andrews, said in a news release Friday. “We will continue to mitigate the effects and potential spread of COVID-19 in coordination with our community and interagency partners.”
The dependent is currently self-quarantined off-base in Waldorf, Maryland, and the base does not expect the case to have repercussions on missions or operations.
According to the 11th Wing, base leadership is coordinating with the Department of Defense Maryland’s Department of Health, Prince George’s County Public Health, among other agencies as it keeps an eye on the situation.
The virus has prompted the U.S. military to ramp up its precautionary measures. For example, the Pentagon is cracking down on travel and is prohibiting all troops, family members, and military civilian employees from traveling to any countries the CDC has designated “Warning Level 3,” such as Italy, South Korea and China. The order will remain in place for the next 60 days.
Several service members have already contracted COVID-19, including a soldier in South Korea, a sailor in Italy, and a Marine in Virginia.
More than 1,200 cases of coronavirus have been reported in the United States, according to the CDC. Cases have been reported in Maryland, the District of Columbia, and Virginia.
“The Department of Defense’s top priority remains the protection and welfare of our people," said Esper in a statement Wednesday. “I remain confident in our ability to protect our service members, civilians and families.”