Anchorage airman is among those who have tested positive for COVID-19

An aerial view Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson from 2018. (Emily Russell/Alaska Public Media)

An active-duty U.S. Air Force airman on Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson has tested positive for coronavirus, the Anchorage military base said in a statement on Thursday.

The airman is one of the state’s nine known cases of the virus that had been previously announced. Four of those cases are in Anchorage, including the JBER case. The ariman was not named in the statement.

“The member recently returned from overseas travel and is following public health protocols while self-quarantined at their off-base residence,” the statement said.

The JBER public affairs office declined to answer questions about where the airman had recently traveled and for how long the airman had been back in Anchorage before being tested for COVID-19.

Related: Alaska COVID-19 count jumps to 9 cases, with patients in Anchorage, Seward

On Thursday, the base was at an elevated level of health protection for military members and those who have access to the base, said a JBER spokesman, Master Sgt. Jonathan Foster. That includes the same protocols seen in other parts of the state, like social distancing, extra hand-washing and self-isolating.

JBER is also taking other measures to reduce the risk of person-to-person transmission including closing some facilities and canceling youth services and sports events, Foster said.

“Like, for instance, the base gates,” he said. “We’re doing a no-touch ID Card procedure. You just hold up your ID card and the gate attendant will look at it and then scan it after you turn it over and show us the barcode on the back.”

Foster said the Air Force has also delayed physical fitness testing for the next several months to avoid having airmen gather in large groups.

Related: Read more coronavirus coverage from Alaska Public Media.

Foster said anyone who has access to the JBER hospital should call the 24-hour on-call technician at 907-382-0435 before heading in for treatment.

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