An active-duty airman from Altus Air Force Base in Oklahoma has presumptively tested positive for the novel coronavirus. The Air Force said the airman is the first known to have contracted COVID-19.
Air Education and Training Command said Thursday that the airman contracted COVID-19 after returning from leave in the Seattle, Washington area earlier this month, and is now undergoing evaluation and treatment.
Altus has raised its Health Protection Condition, or HPCON, level to B “to reflect the moderate disease threat posed by COVID-19 and the risk of exposure to personnel," the release said.
“Right now we have one confirmed case of COVID-19 on our installation,” Col. Matthew Leard, commander of the 97th Air Mobility Wing, said in the release. “The health and safety of our airmen and families is our top priority. We will continue to work with our interagency partners to ensure we do everything we can to mitigate the effects of COVID-19 and ensure our airmen have the most up-to-date information on appropriate measures to prevent the potential spread of the virus.”
A contractor at Moody Air Force Base in Georgia has also tested positive for the virus, the Air Force said in an email.
The Air Force is taking multiple steps to encourage “social distancing” in an effort to slow the spread of coronavirus, including restricting attendance at basic military training and Officer Training School graduations.
Buckley Air Force Base in Colorado also closed its child development center earlier this week for cleaning after a parent of a child there tested positive for coronavirus. In a Facebook livestream Tuesday, Col. Devin Pepper of the 460th Space Wing at Buckley said an airman’s wife tested positive for coronavirus after the family returned from vacation to India in recent weeks. The airman’s wife has not been on Buckley, Pepper said, and the family is being quarantined.
Air shows at March Air Reserve Base in California and MacDill Air Force Base in Florida, which each were scheduled for March 28 and 29, have also been postponed until further notice.
And in addition to closing the Air Force Academy to visitors beginning Friday, the academy’s home games will not allow any spectators.
Stephen Losey is the air warfare reporter for Defense News. He previously covered leadership and personnel issues at Air Force Times, and the Pentagon, special operations and air warfare at Military.com. He has traveled to the Middle East to cover U.S. Air Force operations.