The federal government is getting housing ready for as many as one-thousand people who may have to be quarantined after making their way back to the U.S. from areas affected by the coronavirus. One of the locations is Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio.
According to a statement from the Department of Defense, Secretary Mark Esper approved the request from the Department of Health and Human Services. Evacuees will be monitored for two weeks and would be transferred to the hospital if symptoms are shown. Esper explained the Defense Department will only provide housing support while the Health and Human Services Department would be responsible for all care, transportation and security of the evacuees.
In addition to Lackland, Travis Air Force Base and Marine Corps Air Station Miramar in California and the 168th Regiment, Regional Training Institute in Colorado are some of the locations that would be used for housing.
Joint Base San Antonio issued the following statement, "In support of the Department of Health and Human Service's request to the DOD to provide facilities capable of housing at least 250 people in individual rooms through February 29, 2020, Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland was selected. Base officials are actively coordinating this support for lodging and associated services to accommodate HHS. JBSA leadership has assessed this support will not negatively impact readiness or critical operations.
JBSA personnel will not be directly in contact with the evacuees, as well as evacuees will not have access to any base location other than their assigned lodging.
JBSA leadership's primary responsibility is the safety of our force, our families and our base communities. This is an evolving situation, and we will provide information to our families and community as available."
San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg said, "We were notified that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and Department of Defense have decided to evacuate American citizens from China and quarantine them at U.S. military installations, including Lackland Air Force Base. We have been told that these individuals have no symptoms of the virus and pose no risk to our community. We should all be comforted by the extra precautions being taken by federal, state and health local officials. We do not currently have any citizens diagnosed with the coronavirus here in San Antonio, and our Metro Health Department will continue to monitor the situation and exercise an abundance of caution."