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Air Force basic trainee tests positive for COVID-19

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO, Texas (AFNS) --

Air Force officials announced, March 25, a trainee in the Air Force’s basic military training at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland has tested positive for COVID-19.

The trainee, who is the first COVID-19-positive trainee at BMT, reported to BMT March 18, and as a precaution, had been placed in a restriction of movement, or ROM, status with 40 other new trainees.

Once the trainee showed symptoms, the trainee was isolated from other ROM trainees in order to protect the health and safety of all Airmen in the training pipeline. Contact tracing to determine who they had close contact with is underway by public health officials. The confirmed positive trainee is receiving medical treatment and will remain in isolation until the virus is gone. The other 40 ROM trainees from the trainee’s bay have all been placed under quarantine.

“While a positive COVID-19 discovery is not desirable, the good news is we planned for this and our preparations worked. The trainees were restricted during the incubation period and this allowed for limited exposure,” said Lt. Gen. Brad Webb, commander of Air Education and Training Command. “Practices put into place allow for the identification of COVID-19, while limiting the pool of individuals who can be infected. We take preparing for worst case scenarios seriously and that planning has paid off.”

All inbound ROM trainees are housed at the most geographically-separated training facilities. While in a ROM status, trainees do not have exposure to recruits who have started the BMT training pipeline.

“These are challenging times, but my Warhawks are a team of caring, professional and ready personnel who are dedicated to meeting critical mission requirements, while safeguarding the health and wellness of instructors, trainees and their families,” said Col. Jason Janaros, 37th Training Wing commander. “We will ensure that the trainee who was diagnosed today and every other individual in our care is as safe and protected as possible.”

Approximately 600 trainees arrived March 18 and were screened and placed under ROM for 14 days to monitor for COVID-19 symptoms and reduce risk of spreading the virus. During the restriction, trainees are placed in reduced-capacity living quarters, social distancing is enforced, and their exposure to other populations is extremely limited.

“This virus is obviously highly contagious, but, so is strong, calm leadership,” Janaros said. “With the situation evolving daily, leaders at every level are making rapid, clear-eyed assessments in order to protect the force’s health and safety. We continue to carefully balance the need to deliver mission-ready forces to our operational commanders, with the force health protection measures we must responsibly take to preserve the welfare of our families and the extensive network of communities across our nation. JB San Antonio leaders are continually monitoring the situation and working closely with the San Antonio Metro Health Department to coordinate investigation, prevention and response efforts in the local area. The latest information on JB San Antonio’s COVID-19 response and prevention can be found at https://www.jbsa.mil/Information/CDC-Novel-Coronavirus-Response-Support/