N.J. military base is among potential coronavirus quarantine locations

(Department of Defense image)

(Department of Defense image)

A southern New Jersey military installation is on a list of potential coronavirus quarantine locations should the need arise.

The Department of Health and Human Services has requested the support of the Department of Defense to provide space if primary and secondary facilities become full.

The Department of Defense identified 11 locations near major airports, including Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, which spans through portions of Burlington and Ocean counties, according to a news release issued Thursday.

The military involvement would be limited to providing housing support for up to 20 people as they undergo a period of quarantined observation, the Department of Defense release said. Military personnel will not be in direct contact with quarantined people and will minimize contact with personnel supporting the evacuees, officials said.

Last week, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex M. Azar II declared a public health emergency for the entire United States to support the county’s response to the coronavirus.

“While this virus poses a serious public health threat, the risk to the American public remains low at this time, and we are working to keep this risk low,” Azar said. “We are committed to protecting the health and safety of all Americans, and this public health emergency declaration is the latest in the series of steps the Trump Administration has taken to protect our country.”

The virus can cause fever, coughing, wheezing and pneumonia. Health officials think it spreads mainly from droplets when an infected person coughs or sneezes, similar to how the flu spreads.

There are currently 12 confirmed cases in the United States, CNN reported Thursday. The news network report said that “planeloads” of Americans fleeing the outbreak in China are arriving at military bases across the United States.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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