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Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort Marine tests positive for coronavirus

By STEPHEN FASTENAU | The Island Packet | Published: March 21, 2020

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HILTON HEAD, S.C. (Tribune Content Agency) — A Beaufort Marine tested positive for coronavirus this week after returning from leave in California.

The Marine stationed at Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort received the positive test at Beaufort Memorial Hospital on Tuesday, said 1st Lt. Kevin Buss, a base spokesman. The person is isolated at home based on medical advice and didn’t go on base after returning from leave, Buss said.

MCAS Beaufort leaders and local public health officials “are taking the necessary precautions to prevent a potential outbreak.”

“MCAS Beaufort is committed to protecting the health of our communities,” Buss said. “We will continue to monitor the situation and coordinate with U.S. health agencies and to preserve the wellness of our service members and families.”

The air base, where squadrons of F-35 and F/A 18 jets are based, is continuing normal operations while in a heightened health alert status encouraging personnel to keep appropriate distance, avoid crowds and stay home when possible. The Department of Defense schools in the military’s Laurel Bay housing community a few miles from the base have closed.

Travel has been restricted and leave will only be granted locally within 85 miles of the military base.

At Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, officials said this week recruit training is going on as normal with no plans to suspend operations. The depot is closed to all but active duty personnel, dependents and employees.

Graduation ceremonies have been closed to the public. New Marines will report directly to their next station after graduating instead of standard 10-day leave.

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©2020 The Island Packet (Hilton Head, S.C.)
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