Air Force reports first two coronavirus cases inside the Pentagon

Air Force reports first two coronavirus cases inside the Pentagon
© Greg Nash

An active-duty airman and an Air Force contractor who both visited the Pentagon in recent weeks have tested positive for the coronavirus, the Air Force said Friday, in the first confirmed cases of the virus inside the world’s biggest office building.

The active-duty member works for the Defense Health Agency in Falls Church, Va., and was in the Pentagon “for less than an hour” on Monday, the Air Force said in a news release.

The airman “has since received medical treatment and self-quarantined at home,” it said.

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Military health and local civilian officials have notified individuals who came into contact with the airman, the release added.

The contractor was last in the Pentagon on March 2, according to the Air Force. The person has been self-quarantining and receiving medical treatment since March 7.

The contractor also attended a symposium at Joint Base Andrews, Md., from March 3 to 6. The person did not have symptoms at the event, but the Air Force said it has notified all attendees of the positive coronavirus test.

“The Virginia Department of Health has provided a ‘low risk rating’ based on the individual being asymptomatic at the symposium,” the Air Force said.

The service added that Air Force leadership has notified the contractor’s fellow workers.

“We continue to ask our personnel to take actions to protect themselves and those around them by employing protective measures including practicing good hygiene, social distancing, and taking appropriate actions if experiencing symptoms of an illness. These measures can dramatically decrease the risk of infection and slow COVID-19’s spread,” the Air Force said.

The Pentagon has a capacity upwards of 22,000 workers, but has been taking measures to stem the spread of coronavirus, including cutting back on in-person meetings. This week, the building instituted large-scale teleworking and barred most visitors.

Earlier Friday, the Pentagon said there has been a total of 124 military-related coronavirus cases, including 67 service members, 15 civilians, 26 dependents and 16 contractors.