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First coronavirus case at Pentagon confirmed

The Pentagon US Department of Defense (DoD/WikiCommons)
March 26, 2020

The U.S. Department of Defense has confirmed that a U.S. Marine stationed at the Pentagon has tested positive for coronavirus.

The Marine in question tested positive on March 24, though he was last at the Pentagon on March 13, according to a Pentagon press release late Wednesday.

The Marine reportedly followed guidelines from the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Department of Defense by isolating himself once a family member started showing symptoms of the virus. Once he became ill, the Marine contacted his assigned medical facility.

After confirming the Marine’s case, the Pentagon announced they cleaned his work station and have initiated a contact investigation to determine if other people may have been infected.

The Marine reportedly remains in isolation at his home and will undergo further assessments by health professionals.

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The newly confirmed coronavirus test results among a Pentagon employee come a day after the Pentagon announced it was raising its Health Protection Condition to HPCON CHARLIE, indicating a “substantial sustained community transmission.”

With its change in health protection rating, the Pentagon had announced it would be closing down several points of entry into the building, as well as reducing the number of in-person workers at the building. Prior to announcing HPCON CHARLIE, Defense Secretary Mark Esper said the building had already reduced its in-person workforce by around 60 percent and that more people would be sent to work from home with the new restrictions coming into place.

The Pentagon also recently began some travel restrictions for military and civilian defense personnel within the U.S., stopping military assignments requiring travel and stopping DoD civilians from travel using government funds. The order also placed a hiring freeze on individual DoD bases, facilities and commands hiring civilians outside of their regular commuting area.

On Wednesday, the Pentagon announced it is halting all foreign travel by military personnel and civilian DoD employees for 60 days, potentially disrupting deployment schedules. At the time of the announcement, there were 227 coronavirus cases reported among U.S. service members, 67 among dependents, 81 among Defense Department civilians and 40 among defense contractors.

Several coronavirus cases have already appeared among the U.S. Naval Special Warfare community as well as an aircraft carrier currently deployed in the Philippine Sea.

The number of U.S. Coronavirus cases has passed 69,000 and over 1,000 cases have been fatal as of Thursday morning, according to Johns Hopkins University’s coronavirus case tracking map.