Fort Leonard Wood and Whiteman Air Force Base have confirmed positive coronavirus tests at their installations.
Fort Leonard Wood, the Army training installation south of St. Robert, said a soldier who had recently traveled to New York and Florida tested positive for COVID-19 on March 21, the first positive case among Army personnel there. The soldier had immediately been screened upon returning to the installation and placed in isolation.
Whiteman reported a non-military member tested positive for coronavirus on March 21. No immediate restrictions were implemented.
“This first confirmed case is a stark reminder that we must take this seriously,” Col. Jeffrey Schreiner said in a statement. “Let me be clear to Team Whiteman, if you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 or you believe you have been exposed, call our public health hotline.”
“Team Whiteman will continue to practice social distancing and taking precautions to halt the spread of the virus. The health and safety of our Airmen and their families is paramount — and a direct requirement for enabling our vital strategic missions,” he said. “How you carry yourself in the coming days and weeks impacts national security. Take this seriously for the sake of the mission, the nation, and our local communities.”
The base, just east of Warrensburg, remains at Health Protection Condition BRAVO. That moderate distinction means there’s been an increase in community transmission of the health threat and mandates the avoidance of unnecessary contact with others or travel, among other things.
Missouri has been under a state of emergency since March 13 as three individuals have died from coronavirus. In all, nearly 100 Missourians have tested positive so far.
Gov. Mike Parson has ordered “social distancing” among individuals, which includes limiting gatherings to no more than 10 people.
The virus has been named “SARS-CoV-2” while the disease is called “coronavirus disease 2019,” or “COVID-19.” It can cause severe respiratory illnesses with symptoms such as fever, cough, and shortness of breath, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has warned.
There have been more than 15,000 confirmed cases in the U.S., and 201 deaths, according to the CDC.
The Department of Health and Senior Services has opened a public hotline operated by medical professionals around the clock seven days a week. The hotline number is 877-435-8411.
Cover photo: Customers shopping at Whiteman Air Force Base Exchange are keeping a safe distance from each other at Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri, March 19, 2020. Whiteman Air Force Base Exchange posted signage all throughout the store to inform customers of how to keep a proper safe distance. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Alexandria Lee)
Kaitlyn Schallhorn is the editor of The Missouri Times. She joined the newspaper in early 2019 after working as a reporter for Fox News in New York City.
Throughout her career, Kaitlyn has covered political campaigns across the U.S., including the 2016 presidential election, and humanitarian aid efforts in Africa and the Middle East.
She is a native of Missouri who studied journalism at Winthrop University in South Carolina. She is also an alumna of the National Journalism Center in Washington, D.C.
Contact Kaitlyn at firstname.lastname@example.org.