Positive COVID-19 cases at Peterson and Schriever; gym was still open Monday evening

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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KKTV) - One active-duty service member at Peterson Air Force Base and a civilian at Schriever Air Force Base tested positive for COVID-19.

The announcement for both bases came on Monday. There is also a dependent who tested positive on Peterson, but that case is not connected to the active-duty service member.

Multiple people reached out to 11 News concerned the gym at Peterson was still open, despite an order across the state to close all public gyms. A spokesperson told 11 News they are honoring proper social distancing and keeping equipment sanitized. The gym was open as of Monday evening, but that could all change in the near future. They estimate about 300 people visit the gym each day. The gym remained open following the announcement of the positive cases.

"We are doing everything we can to help minimize the spread of COVID-19. Department of the Air Force personnel and their families live, work and attend school in this community and we are committed to doing our part to limit the spread of this virus," said Col. Thomas Falzarano, 21st Space Wing commander. "We remain in close coordination with our interagency partners, and public health authorities to ensure the wellbeing of our military force, their families and our community."

The full statement by Peterson Air Force Base can be read below:

"On March 23, an active duty service member and a dependent have tested positive for the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). These two confirmed cases are unrelated. Both individuals are quarantined and receiving support and medical care in accordance with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Force Health Protection and 21st Medical Group guidelines.

Both individuals were tested at the Peterson point of testing--a drive through testing location on base.

Military health professionals are conducting a thorough contact investigation to determine whether any other personnel may have been exposed. Those personnel will be contacted and given direction by their leadership. Depending on the results of that investigation, additional precautionary measures will be taken to minimize spread.

There are no other known cases on Peterson AFB or Cheyenne Mountain Air Force Station."

The full statement by Schriever Air Force Base:

"A 50th Space Wing government civilian has been in isolation at home since March 17 and is receiving care in accordance with Centers for Disease Control, Force Health Protection and 21st Medical Group guidelines.

“This is exactly why we have taken the serious precautions we have to limit further transmission of the Coronavirus,” said Col. James Smith, installation commander. “We remain committed to preserving our team members’ ability to provide for our nation’s defense and sustain current worldwide military missions.”

Officials are researching the details regarding this exposure. All known contacts have been teleworking since March 17 as a precaution.

Additionally, Smith declared a Public Health Emergency at Schriever. This will largely be transparent to base members as leadership leaned forward in closing base facilities, restricting movement and implementing isolation and quarantine where appropriate.

“According to what we know about COVID-19, this week is going to be critical to our preventing the spread of the virus,” said Smith. “Please continue to heed the social distancing, reduced access and telework guidelines to the maximum extent possible. We cannot afford complacency within our team.”

Leaders have implemented the following actions:
-Restricted Area (RA) access limited to specified mission essential personnel only
-Child Development Center and School Age Center, Outdoor Recreation Framing and Engraving, Fitness Center and Indoor Running Track, including after-hours access, Event Center and Bennie’s are closed
-Large events and gatherings of more than 10 personnel are cancelled or postponed
-Base Shuttle service inside and outside the RA will be suspended
-The following services are available by appointment only: 50th Force Support Squadron, 50th Comptroller Squadron and Airman and Family Readiness Center
-Facilities outside the RA, not specifically identified above, are open; however, commanders and supervisors have minimized the number of personnel in work centers, primarily through telework
-The Satellite Dish Dining Facility is limited to Building 300/400 occupants and 50th Space Wing mission essential personnel only and is take-out only
- Food truck service is suspended
-Ongoing construction projects outside the RA will continue
-Construction projects inside the RA are considered on a case by case basis

“We are aligning the base posture with existing measures across the state and in direct consideration of our installation’s critical mission sets,” said Smith. “Our national space-based capabilities allow our military leaders to see the battlespace with clarity, provide early warning, strike with precision, navigate with accuracy, communicate with certainty, understand weather impacts and operate anywhere in the world.”

Leaders continue to encourage good hygiene practices as the best preventive measure to control the spread of viruses. Personnel are encouraged to wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, avoid contact with those who have been sick, seek medical care when feeling ill and disinfect frequently-touched surfaces to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 and other viruses.

Schriever members who are ill are encouraged to call the appointment line at (719) 526-2273 for care and practice social distancing, which means staying home and not attending large gatherings until care is accessed."