Family and friends of the United States Central Command Headquarters,
Thank you for your support during these difficult times surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic. We want you to know that we have been in close coordination with MacDill Air Force Base (AFB), state and federal authorities and have been taking appropriate measures to protect the health of all personnel working within the CENTCOM headquarters here in Tampa, Florida, as well as throughout our area of operations.
For several weeks, U.S. Central Command has been taking active measures to ensure U.S. and Coalition personnel are educated about safe mitigation procedures to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The health and safety of our force is our top priority. Out of an abundance of caution, we have implemented recommended guidance from the Office of Personnel and Readiness and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the governor of Florida, Hillsborough County and MacDill AFB. These steps were taken to prevent and mitigate the spread of COVID-19 amongst personnel assigned.
CENTCOM HQ staff sections have been limiting contact between peers by practicing proper social distancing while in the building and reducing the current manning by allowing a substantial portion of the work force to tele-work from home, and spreading out those who remain in the HQ. Meetings and conferences have been canceled or are being conducted primarily through teleconferencing.
We have also made hand-sanitization stations readily available, propped open entranceways and exits, limited interaction between staff sections and encouraged personnel to frequently and thoroughly wash their hands whenever possible.
Additional steps that were taken to limit contact and exposure include the temporary closure of the Vince Café, removal of food trucks within the CENTCOM campus and immediate quarantine of personnel who return from travel to certain locations, who have any flu-like symptoms, or who meet the criteria of exposure to known confirmed cases of COVID 19 as set forth by CDC guidelines.
In order to maintain transparency and quell rumors, we want you to be aware that there are currently two confirmed cases of COVID-19 amongst CENTCOM HQ personnel. One case presented itself while a service member was in precautionary quarantine. In the second case, 14-day quarantines for personnel who came into close contact with the service member have been initiated. In both cases, the service members with the virus are receiving the best possible treatment and care.
As the situation develops, we will provide updated information when possible. This is a continuously evolving scenario that is going to take a significant amount of time to resolve. With that in mind, the health of CENTCOM personnel and their families is of the utmost importance. We are doing everything possible to protect, inform and care for everyone here and we thank you for your continued support and understanding.
For further information, questions or concerns please go to www.centcom.mil for additional links on COVID-19 from the WHO, CDC, DoD and MacDill AFB websites.