The Puerto Rico Adjutant General, Major General José J. Reyes, confirmed 13 cases of COVID-19 in a mission of 37 soldiers that left Puerto Rico on July 3 to the United States for training tasks.
The Puerto Rico National Guard Military Police Unit 544, made up of 37 soldiers, left for California earlier this month to complete military training missions at the National Training Center (NTC).
However, upon arrival at Fort Knox in Kentucky, one of them tested positive for the coronavirus. According to the Adjutant General, all the soldiers had already been tested on the Island before leaving for the United States.
The positive soldier remained in Kentucky for medical attention, while the rest of the group continued their journey to California.
“At NTC they were re-administered the COVID-19 tests. There another soldier tested positive on July 10 and was held in isolation. On July 16, a soldier who was in quarantine tested positive after presenting symptoms and was taken to a military medical institution. Another 10 soldiers tested positive on July 17 while they were in quarantine and all remain in isolation, “Reyes told Metro in a written statement, after sources in this newspaper revealed the situation.
Likewise, Reyes also specified that today, 17 soldiers are in quarantine under military medical observation and one is in isolation. However, the latter tested negative for the virus.
Of the initial group only seven are in training. Reyes said that the protocol establishes that the soldiers will be in quarantine for 14 days before returning to their homes.
In addition, they will return to undergo the COVID-19 tests prior to their return to Puerto Rico, as established by the Executive Order of Governor Wanda Vázquez.
Fear of infection
A source who declined to be identified said there is concern among soldiers about the incidence of coronavirus cases in their comrades.
Soldiers reportedly traveled to the United States on commercial flights. It also alleged that some of the soldiers who were separated in quarantine have not been tested.
Likewise, the source affirmed that the situation had triggered the alarm among the soldiers who, according to what was alleged, do not know when they will return to Puerto Rico.
Meanwhile, the National Guard Adjutant General said that the unit’s soldiers are expected to begin returning to the Island at the end of July.
“The health of all our Citizen-Soldiers and Airmen is of primary importance for our National Guard and for the Armed Forces. For this reason, we have been in direct communication with the leadership of the men and women of the 544 Military Police Company who left the Island on their military mission to Fort Irwin in California and who have been detected with COVID-19, ”he pointed out. General Reyes.
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