The first Marine aboard Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, California, tested positive for the coronavirus Thursday, Marine officials confirmed.
The Marine is part of the 3rd Marine Air Wing, and is at least the second Marine to test positive for the rapidly spreading virus. A Marine in Virginia tested positive for the virus at Fort Belvoir on March 7.
A U.S. soldier stationed in South Korea was the first American service member to test positive for the virus in late February.
Miramar, California, was one of four bases the U.S. has been using to quarantine civilians exposed to the deadly virus after confirmed cases on cruise ships.
But the Marine who tested positive likely did not get the virus from one of the quarantined civilians on the base, an official with knowledge of the case told Marine Corps Times Thursday. The Marine was exposed to the virus when on leave visiting family in Washington state, the official said.
A second Marine on Camp Pendleton, California is currently “under investigation” for the virus and is receiving daily medical checks a release from the I Marine Expeditionary Force said. The release added that the Marine under investigation also had no contact with the civilians being quarantined on base.
A “thorough” contact investigation is currently being conducted to identify anyone who came in contact with the two Marines the press release said.
The medical facility where the Marine who tested positive was first screened has been sanitized and so far no personnel with known contact to either Marine has reported any symptoms.
On Wednesday, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee declared a state of emergency, restricting gatherings with more than 250 people, in an attempt to slow down the spread of the virus.
Its rapid spread, on Wednesday declared a “global pandemic” by the World Health Organization, led President Donald Trump to address the nation and enact a 30-day travel ban between the U.S. and Europe.
Also Wednesday Secretary of Defense Mark Esper announced significant restrictions on international travel for service members and their families, preventing them from traveling to nations with widespread transmission for the next 60 days.
The spread of the virus has also led to the cancellation of a multinational Arctic exercise and the 75th anniversary reunion for survivors of the Battle of Iwo Jima in Japan.
“We are taking every precaution to preserve the integrity of our warfighting forces, and stand ready to protect the health of our Marines, Sailors, family members, civilian employees, and our local communities,” Lt. Gen. Joseph L. Osterman, commanding general of I MEF said in the press release.
“We understand the severity of this situation and are deliberate in our actions to help diminish the impact of COVID-19," he added.
This is a breaking story and will be updated as Marine Corps Times learns more.