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Fort Drum confirms first case of coronavirus

Soldiers from Fort Drum's 10th Mountain Division Combat Aviation Brigade salute after returning from a nine-month deployment to Europe in this file photo from October 18, 2017 (Michael Greenlar/Syracuse Media Group/TNS)

A civilian employee at Fort Drum has tested positive for COVID-19, the first confirmed case of coronavirus at the sprawling Army base in Jefferson County, Fort Drum officials said Monday.

The employee works part-time at the Fort Drum Education Center three days per week but lives in the Albany area, Army officials said.

The center provides higher education for adults. It’s open to soldiers from Fort Drum’s 10th Mountain Division and their family members.

The Fort Drum Medical Command is investigating to find out how many soldiers and family members were potentially exposed to the infected employee, Army officials said.

The employee most recently worked at the education center on Wednesday through Friday of last week.

The employee received confirmation of the positive diagnosis for COVID-19 today, said Julie Halpin, a spokeswoman for Fort Drum.

Halpin said the employee is in Albany, but she did not know if the person had to be hospitalized or seek medical treatment.

Any Fort Drum personnel or family members who might have come into contact with the infected worker will be required to self-quarantine for 14 days, the Army said.

The education center is closed for cleaning and will not re-open until officials declare it safe for occupancy.

Last week, Fort Drum placed 40 soldiers returning from a nine-month deployment to South Korea under a mandatory two-week quarantine. Soldiers from the 59th Chemical Company will be monitored by health officials while living in previously empty barracks.

Fort Drum has also restricted the movement of its personnel to within an 80-mile radius of the post north of Watertown during the coronavirus pandemic.


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