25th ID Soldier Is First Service Member to Test Positive for COVID-19 in Hawaii

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A handwashing station in front of the Schofield Barracks Commissary.
The Schofield Barracks Commissary has provided a handwashing/sanitizing station in front of the store on March 19, 2020. The station is a measure taken to help combat the spread of the Coronavirus disease 2019. (Ryan Jenkins/U.S. Army)

The U.S. military has recorded the first coronavirus case in its ranks in Hawaii, the Army said today.

"A 25th Infantry Division soldier stationed here tested positive for COVID-19, " Schofield Barracks said in a news release.

The soldier is in isolation at an off-base residence. The Army did not identify gender or age.

"The soldier traveled to Las Vegas on March 13 and returned to Oahu on March 15, " the 25th Division said.

Upon return, the soldier was placed into command-directed restriction of movement at his or her off-base residence and became symptomatic Wednesday night. The soldier was tested for COVID-19 on Thursday and determined to be positive on Friday.

Tripler Army Medical Center health professionals are actively conducting contact tracing, the Army said.

"The 25th Infantry Division and U.S. Army Hawaii have implemented all appropriate control measures to help control the spread of COVID-19, and military installations across Hawaii remain at health protection condition 'Bravo' as the risk level remains low, " according to the Army.

A civilian employee at Tripler became the first confirmed COVID-19 case within the Army community in Hawaii with a positive test result on Wednesday.

The employee had recently traveled to New York and started to develop symptoms after returning to Oahu, and took the precaution of self-isolating at home.

The individual then pursued testing through an urgent care facility after personal notification that a close contact during travel had tested positive for COVID-19.

"The employee is currently in self-isolation and will be monitored by medical personnel from the medical center, " the Army said at the time in a release.

Tripler and Army Public Health Nursing teams were working with the state of Hawaii's Health Department and had begun contact tracing to determine whether any other individuals were exposed, according to the Army.

The Defense Department last week instituted travel restrictions for service members, civilians, and their families assigned to defense installations within the United States halting all domestic travel, including permanent changes of station, and temporary duty.

The measures, in place through at least May 11, included the requirement to "only take leave in the local area "-- which most commands in Hawaii have deemed to be home-island only with no interisland travel.

According to a 2017 count by governing.com, Hawaii had about 36, 600 active duty military members, 9, 400 Reserve members and about 19, 000 military civilians.

U.S. Indo-Pacific Command recently raised the health protection condition to "Bravo " from "Alpha " reflecting increased community transmission of the coronavirus, but with the health of the military community still at moderate risk. 

This article is written by William Cole from The Honolulu Star-Advertiser and was legally licensed via the Tribune Content Agency through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

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