Two more American contractors test positive for the coronavirus in South Korea
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OSAN AIR BASE, South Korea – U.S. Forces Korea reported Friday that two civilian contractors tested positive for coronavirus, bringing the number of cases affiliated with the U.S. military on the peninsula to 17.
One of the contractors works at Camp Humphreys, which had already reported numerous infections. The other works at nearby Osan Air Base, and is the installation’s first coronavirus case.
Both patients are U.S. citizens who are in isolation at their off-base residences as directed by the USFK medical personnel and the Korea Centers for Disease Control, USFK said in a press release.
Osan is at Health Protection Condition Charlie-plus, according to a post on the 51st Fighter Winger official Facebook page Friday. Condition Charlie means the area is experiencing “sustained community transmission” of the coronavirus, according to the Defense Department.
Personnel at Osan other than those deemed essential were ordered to their homes while teams retraced the contractor’s contacts, according to the Facebook post.
Tighter restrictions at the air base are a response to seven confirmed cases at Camp Humphreys, an Army installation and the largest U.S. base in South Korea, and numerous cases just outside Osan’s gates in the city of Songtan, wing commander Col. John Gonzales said during a Facebook Live update on Thursday.
The same day, the South Korean air force, which shares the installation, declared some on-base U.S. services, such as the bowling alley and food courts, off limits.
Gonzales, “in solidarity” with the South Koreans, also declared South Korean facilities off limits to U.S. service members, civilian employees, contractors and families.
Most services on the installation have closed until further notice, including the commissary and base exchange, while they are cleaned and sanitized.
Ally Saval, a 27-year-old military spouse from Baltimore, said she’s impressed with how Osan has handled the pandemic.
“The fact that we have gone this long without a positive case is impressive, and I think everyone has been doing their part to be responsible and stay safe,” she told Stars and Stripes on Friday.
“Our attitude today is to not panic over the closure and just know that things are being handled as swiftly as possible,” she said.