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JBSA-Lackland supports HHS quarantine of American citizens

By By 502d Air Base Wing Public Affairs | By 502d Air Base Wing Public Affairs | Feb. 4, 2020

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-LACKLAND, Texas —

A town hall is scheduled at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland Feb. 5 at 5 p.m. in the Gateway Club to answer questions about the repatriation of American citizens due to the current coronavirus outbreak in China.

The town hall will allow representatives from the Department of Health and Human Services and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to hear concerns from local residents. More information on when and where the town halls will take place will be released in the next few days.

At least 250 people arriving in San Antonio will be subject to federal quarantine and housed at the Gateway Inn and the Gateway Villa through Feb. 29 by request of the Department of Health and Human Services.

JBSA-Lackland is only providing temporary housing support to HHS for these citizens during their quarantine period. They will not have access to any other installation locations and will be continuously monitored by the HHS and CDC. Previous guests at the Gateway Inn and Gateway Villa received alternate accommodations.

HHS will be responsible for all care of the evacuees, said Alyssa Farah, DOD press secretary, and DOD personnel will not be directly in contact with the evacuees. Evacuees will not have access to any base location other than their assigned housing.

"The DOD will work closely with our interagency partners and continue to monitor the situation," Farah said. “The department's primary responsibility at this time is the safety of our force, our families and our base communities."

JBSA officials said this support will not negatively impact readiness or critical operations. JBSA personnel will not be directly in contact with the evacuees.

JBSA leadership has stated that their primary responsibility is the safety of our force, our families and our base communities. This is an evolving situation, and information will be provided to families and the community as available.

The 37th Training Wing will continue to receive new basic trainees and BMT graduation events will continue as usual.

This new coronavirus, named 2019-nCoV, was first detected in Wuhan City, in China's Hubei province, according to the CDC. While the coronavirus is a very serious public health threat, CDC officials said the immediate health risk to the general public as low.

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that are common in many different species of animals, including camels, cattle, cats and bats, according to the CDC. Rarely, animal coronaviruses can infect people and then spread.

People with concerns can contact the JBSA commander at RandolphPublicAffairs@us.af.mil using the subject line “Feedback Fridays.”

For more information about the coronavirus, visit the CDC website at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/faq.html and https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/summary.html.