In the wake of the growing Coronavirus outbreak, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services asked the Department of Defense to provide facilities, such as Naval Base Kitsap, near major U.S. airports to observe patients quarantined with the virus.
The initial request from DHHS asked DOD to identify military installations near 11 major airports that could be used to house additional patients, should HHS facilities become filled, according to a DOD press release.
According to NBK Public Affairs Officer Jake Chappelle, the local Navy installation was selected because of its proximity to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, as well as meeting the criteria outlined by DHHS. NBK was directed by DOD through DHHS to reserve 20 spaces in one of their lodging facilities.
“As we provide support to the Department of Health and Human Services, our responsibility remains the safety of our fleet, our families and our base communities,” Chappelle said.
DHHS would provide all services to support patients during the observation period, as well as providing office space for several HHS personnel and their equipment through Feb. 22.
“DOD personnel will not be in direct contact with the evacuees and will minimize contact with personnel supporting the evacuees,” the DOD press release states. “Should routine monitoring of the evacuees identify ill individuals, HHS has procedures in place to transport them to a local civilian medical facility. HHS will also ensure that no evacuated personnel are transferred to any DOD installation if they are infected or ill.”