A U.S. Marine assigned to Fort Belvoir in Fairfax County, Virginia, has tested positive for COVID-19, Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Rath Hoffman announced on March. 7, marking the first confirmed case of the disease in the state.
The Marine, who Hoffman did not name, is being treated at Fort Belvoir Community Hospital after recently returning from overseas where he was on official business, the spokesman said. The White House has been notified and the Secretary of Defense has been briefed, the statement added.
Officials at Fort Belvoir Community Hospital and Virginia Department of Health said they are working together and are in regular communication with federal, state, local, and private sector partners on the matter. They added that there is no evidence of the virus spreading in Virginia and that “the risk is low.”
Gov. Ralph Northam also spoke to ease anxiety over the virus in the state, saying on Twitter: “We are working closely with federal, military, and local partners to respond to a COVID-19 case at Ft. Belvoir. The risk to Virginians remains low, but please continue to stay aware and take basic health precautions.”
“The member is currently restricted to their residence, receiving supportive and medical care in accordance with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and host nation guidelines,” according to the statement.
“Military health professionals are conducting a thorough contact investigation to determine whether any other personnel may have been exposed. Depending on the results of that investigation, additional precautionary measures may be taken. Personnel that the service member immediately identified having close contact with have been notified and are in self-isolation at their residence.”
The sailor, who worked at Naval Support Activity Naples, marks the first positive case for a U.S. service member stationed in Europe.
In a separate case last month, an American soldier stationed in South Korea was quarantined at his off-base residence on Feb. 25 after testing positive for COVID-19.
The 23-year-old was stationed at Camp Carroll, located in the village of Waegwan about 12 miles from the city of Daegu. Daegu and the broader North Gyeongsang province have seen the majority of known infection cases in South Korea.
According to USFK, the soldier visited Camp Walker, also in Daegu, on Feb. 24, and Camp Carrol from Feb. 21 to Feb. 25.
The U.S. Army, Air Force, and Navy, as well as Marine Corps, and Coast Guard have now started screening all recruits for the virus before they begin basic combat training in an effort to prevent it from spreading among the armed forces.