US military Central Command confirms first case of coronavirus at HQ

An Army National Guardsmen puts on a protective mask at a COVID-19 Community-Based Testing Site at Bergen Community College in Paramus, N.J., March 20, 2020.

Spc. Michael Schwenk | U.S. Army National Guard

WASHINGTON — The U.S. military’s Central Command confirmed Saturday that a Navy sailor tested positive for coronavirus, the first known case for the combatant command.

Central Command, headquartered at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Florida, is the U.S. military’s combatant command that oversees the wars in Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan. MacDill is also home to the elite U.S. Special Operations Command.

“The sailor had returned to the United States from overseas travel on March 15, and immediately entered precautionary quarantine at his residence without stopping at U.S. Central Command headquarters or Macdill AFB,” Capt. Bill Urban, a spokesman for U.S. Central Command, wrote in a statement.

“Upon developing symptoms on March 18, 2020, he called ahead to the Macdill AFB Health Clinic, and was met outside the facility by medical professionals for his test. His test returned positive on March 20,” Urban wrote, adding that the sailor is currently under treatment in Tampa, Florida.

On Friday, the Pentagon reported 124 known cases of coronavirus within the Department of Defense. The virus has infected more than 284,000 worldwide, though many have recovered. In the U.S. more than 19,000 cases have been reported so far.

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