Ellsworth AFB declares public health emergency

Local News

This July 24, 2012 photo provided by the U.S. Air Force shows a B-1 bomber rumbling down the flightline at Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D., as part of a training mission. On Tuesday, March 24, 2015, the Federal Aviation Administration gave final approval for a plan to establish an enormous bomber training area over the northern Plains that advocates say will improve military training and save money. The plan would expand the Powder River Training Complex over the Dakotas, Montana and Wyoming. The move quadruples the training airspace, making it the largest over the continental United States. (AP Photo/U.S. Air Force, Airman 1st Class Zachary Hada)

BOX ELDER, S.D. (AP) — Ellsworth Air Force Base has declared a public health emergency in order to give its commander additional authority to enforce social distancing strategies due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Officials said the declaration also better aligns the base with national guidance.

South Dakota health officials say the number of people who have tested positive for COVID-19 rose to 41 Wednesday, but no cases have been reported on the base.

The commander could expand the civilian leave policy and further restrict base access under the declaration.

For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia and death.

Leaders encouraged base families to follow the Centers for Disease Control guidelines, avoid gatherings of 10 or more people, and practice social distancing and good personal hygiene.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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