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MacDill Air Force Base coronavirus cases found in Central Command, Special Operations Command

MacDill Air Force Base will observe a full-day, "resilience tactical pause'' Friday to address a growing number of suicides in the Air Force. Airmen will participate in team-building activities and small-group discussions on mental health. This is happening at military bases across the U.S. .

The three confirmed cases of the coronavirus previously reported at MacDill Air Force Base worked at two of the U.S. military’s most important commands: U.S. Central Command and U.S. Special Operations Command.

U.S. Central Command, or CentCom, which overseas all U.S. military operations in the Middle East, reported Wednesday that two of its personnel tested positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by coronavirus.

As a result, CentCom leaders took additional steps to limit contact and exposure on its Tampa campus. Those measures include installing hand sanitation stations at entrances and exits, removing food trucks and quarantining all personnel who return from travel to certain locations, show flu-like symptoms or meet the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s criteria of exposure to known confirmed cases.

The command also said several service members were sent home to work from there. They have also cancelled meetings and conferences, switched to teleconferencing and are trying to socially distance those service members still working at headquarters.

“This is a continuously evolving scenario that is going to take a significant amount of time to resolve,” said CentCom’s commander, Marine Gen. Kenneth McKenzie Jr., in a statement. “With that in mind, the health of CENTCOM personnel and their families is of the utmost importance.”

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A civilian assigned to U.S. Special Operations Command, or SOCom, which oversees command, control and training of all U.S. special operations forces, also tested positive. The Air Force’s 6th Air Refueling Wing is also located on base, but it has not reported any members testing positive.

All three individuals are receiving medical treatment and co-workers who came in contact with them are under quarantine, officials said.

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© 2020 the Tampa Bay Times