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Marines order Okinawa base to shelter in place after ‘several’ test positive for coronavirus

Marine Corps Futenma Air Station in Ginowan, Okinawa, is pictured April 19, 2019.

CARLOS M. VAZQUEZ II/STARS AND STRIPES

By DAVE ORNAUER AND AYA ICHIHASHI | STARS AND STRIPES Published: July 7, 2020

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CAMP FOSTER, Okinawa – The U.S. military ordered personnel at Marine Corps Air Station Futenma on Okinawa to shelter in place Tuesday after ‘several’ people there tested positive for the coronavirus.

The order, issued via a mass email alert by Marine Corps Installations Pacific, took effect at 2:49 p.m. and was lifted about four hours later.

Those who tested positive have been moved into isolation, along with their close contacts, according to a Marine Corps statement issued Tuesday evening. It did not say how many are infected or whether they are on active duty.

“At this time, the source of exposure is unknown,” the statement said. “Military leadership and health professionals have employed a contact tracing team to determine any additional potential exposures.”

There has been no change in the health-protection level for installations on Okinawa, which remain at “moderate” risk, according to an email from Marine spokesman 1st Lt. Timothy Hayes.

“We are taking all prudent measures to prevent the further spread of COVID-19 and will continue to communicate with our forces, our families and our local Okinawan communities openly,” the Marine statement said.

The infections were announced less than a week after the Marine Corps reported its first coronavirus case on Okinawa, a family member of a Marine who tested positive July 1 after returning from the United States.

That case was the first on the island prefecture since April 30.

ornauer.dave@stripes.com
Twitter: @DaveOrnauer

Ichihashi.aya@stripes.com
Twitter: @AyaIchihashi