Consolidated bachelor quarters at Miramar
Consolidated bachelor quarters at Miramar, where quarantined Americans will stay. Marine Corps photo

The commanding officer of Marine Corps Air Station Miramar told base personnel Monday they should be prepared for “minor changes in daily life” as the base assists American citizens leaving China.

Miramar is one of four military facilities that are preparing to receive and quarantine diplomats and citizens returning on chartered flights as China confronts the coronavirus epidemic.

Quarantined citizens will stay for 14 days in the base’s Consolidated Bachelor Quarters. The hotel-like accommodations are capable of housing at least 250 people in individual rooms through Feb. 29.

“Our mission is clear,” said Col. Charles B. Dockery. “We will assist (the Department of Health and Human Services) in an effective and dignified repatriation process, while we ensure the safety and well being of our residents.”

He noted that all those quarantined “have been screened multiple times by U.S. medical professionals and do not display symptoms of the coronavirus” and will not be in contact with base personnel. And he said any person developing symptoms would be transferred elsewhere for care.

Although base personnel were making preparations Monday, there was no official word on when the first flight would arrive.

The outbreak was first detected in December in the industrial city of Wuhan. Since then, more than 9,800 cases have been reported in China, with at least 360 deaths. Eleven cases have been confirmed in the United States.

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.