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MCAS Miramar hygiene measures rise after Marines test positive for COVID-19

Posted at 4:30 PM, Mar 18, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-18 19:55:05-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - Life is changing on Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, as dozens go into precautionary quarantine after exposure to COVID-19.

The protocols you see around San Diego County are in effect on base, bringing the Health Protection Condition on base up to Level Bravo, according to Public Information Officer Capt. Matthew Gregory.

The spectrum ranges from Alpha to Delta.

RELATED: Third MCAS Miramar Marine tests positive for coronavirus

That means changes to daily life, starting at the gate.

"Our gate guards are now under a no touch ID policy, so the driver will keep hold of their ID. They'll get looked at by the MPs [Military Police] and wave them through," Capt. Gregory said.

Restaurants on base are carry-out only. The chapel, tax center and gym are closed. Anyone on base who can work from home is mandated to.

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"The events around the coronavirus are unprecedented. I cannot remember in my lifetime anything that has happened on this scale," Capt. Gregory said.

No tight formations, like you would see at Color Guard practice, or group meetings are allowed to comply with social distancing protocol.

The base learned key practices from the CDC and Health and Human Services during the waves of Americans quarantined on base after returning from China, or a cruise. That helped them prepare for the cases they're now seeing on base.

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"We proactively set aside another barracks, cleaned it up, and that way we have a place for people who may be sick, who live on base, or require quarantine can go," Capt. Gregory said.

As of Wednesday they have about 45 Marines in the building. Three tested positive for COVID-19. The others are there out of precaution after being exposed.

"Along with that comes plans for... having meals brought to them, laundry services, all those things, so units here on base are going to be responsible for their Marines who may be in quarantine or may be sick," he said.

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Capt. Gregory said it's better to over prepare and look back thinking it was easy, than to under prepare and make things harder.

He said the base is ready to take on any mission that comes their way as they continue to balance the community's needs, their Marine's needs, as well as their ability to protect.