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15th US coronavirus case confirmed; quarantined at Joint Base Lackland, TX

Vials of blood sit before being separated into hemoglobin and plasma at the 28th Medical Group laboratory at Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D., Dec. 4, 2018. For some tests, only the plasma of a patient is need and for others, the whole blood sample is required. (Airman 1st Class Nicolas Z. Erwin/U.S. Air Force)
February 13, 2020

The U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and health officials in San Antonio, Texas have confirmed and contained a new coronavirus at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland.

Members of the CDC and officials at the base confirmed the diagnosis Wednesday night, according to CNBC. With this latest diagnosis, the CDC has confirmed 15 cases of the coronavirus within the U.S.

The latest coronavirus patient is reportedly among around 800 U.S. citizens who were recently evacuated from the Wuhan, China, where the 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19) first emerged. Some 600 of those evacuees remain in quarantine at various U.S. military bases around the country as part of an effort to catch potential carriers of the virus before they return to the general public.

The quarantine in this case involved a 14-day period of isolation, consistent with the CDC’s observations of the coronavirus’ incubation period.

“The system worked precisely,” San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg said of the quarantine protocol, according to KSAT News. “I want to repeat, every precaution has been executed according to plan.”

The CDC has indicated that the risk of coronavirus’ spread remains low, however additional cases may appear among the quarantined evacuees.

“For the most part, the people in quarantine are not doing much association with each other,” said Cpt. Jennifer McQuiston, the deputy director of the CDC’s Division of High Consequence Pathogens and Pathology. “They’re staying strong, they want to come through this 14 days and return to their families.”

The 14-day quarantine period is set to end on Feb. 20. McQuiston indicated there are no plans to extend the quarantine period at this time.