NEWS | Aug. 7, 2020

Marine Installation Leaders, Okinawa Officials Meet to Discuss COVID-19

By Marine Corps 1st Lt. Timothy Hayes MARINE CORPS INSTALLATIONS PACIFIC

WASHINGTON -- Okinawa Government representatives met with Marine Corps Installations Pacific leaders and medical professionals to discuss COVID-19-related information at Camp Foster Naval Hospital.

Testing capabilities, tracing efforts and reporting procedures of both the Okinawa prefect and U.S. military entities were among the many topics discussed during the July 15 meeting.

"We are genuinely open to communicating so that both the U.S. military and Okinawa government can fight the spread of COVID-19," said Marine Corps Col. Neil Owens, director of government and external affairs for Marine Corps Installations Pacific.

Members of each party expressed their concerns and ideas regarding Okinawa's current COVID-19 situation. One topic of importance was the preventive measures each entity has put in place to fight the spread of COVID-19. MCIPAC recently enacted enhanced protective measures, limiting on-base activities and prohibiting off-base activities as part of their combined efforts.

Navy Capt. David Krulak, commanding officer of U.S. Naval Hospital Okinawa, reassured the Okinawa government representatives that the hospital has aggressively tested large numbers of people at once. He also expanded upon tracing efforts, noting that the naval hospital contact-trace teams investigate asymptomatic individuals back at least 10 days to locate any close contacts who indicate a need for testing.

The military and government leaders agreed to continue open communication and to meet regularly via teleconference to ensure proper protective measures are in place.

"We will continue to work closely to ensure the health of all people on the island," Krulak said during his closing remarks.