Veterans Affairs officials on Thursday cancelled this year’s National Disabled Veterans Winter Sports Clinic, citing concerns about the ongoing worldwide coronavirus outbreak.

The event, which had been scheduled for March 29 to April 3, was expected to bring about 1,000 veterans, instructors and family members to Snowmass, Colorado, for sessions of winter sports and camaraderie. VA began informing participants of the decision over the last day.

“While the Centers for Disease Control still considers COVID-19 to be a low threat to the general American public, VA made this decision out of an abundance of caution,” officials said in a statement.

The news comes just a day after VA Secretary Robert Wilkie announced his department’s medical system was treating its first patient with the illness, which has infected more than 93,000 people worldwide and caused more than 3,000 deaths.

That man is being housed at the VA Medical Center in Palo Alto, California. A second patient with the illness is being treated at the VA Southern Nevada Healthcare System, according to a report in the Nevada Independent on Thursday.

Numerous Department of Defense Education Activity schools in Asia, Europe and the Middle East have been closed in recent weeks and extracurricular activities canceled, in an effort to limit spread of the illness among military families.

But most military events based in the United States have so far been spared cancellation. VA officials said the winter sports clinic won’t be rescheduled, but they plan for the event to return in 2021.

Congress on Thursday finalized plans for a nearly $7.8 billion emergency supplemental appropriation to help prevent spread of the virus. President Donald Trump is expected to sign the measure into law in coming days.

Last week, VA officials posted a list of suggested prevention techniques related to the outbreak, including frequent hand washing, cleaning frequently-used surfaces and avoiding public areas with ill individuals.

Leo covers Congress, Veterans Affairs and the White House for Military Times. He has covered Washington, D.C. since 2004, focusing on military personnel and veterans policies. His work has earned numerous honors, including a 2009 Polk award, a 2010 National Headliner Award, the IAVA Leadership in Journalism award and the VFW News Media award.

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