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Garamendi Demands Answers from HHS and Others on Accusations of Mismanagement at Travis AFB Quarantine

March 14, 2020
Press Release

Fairfield, California—Today Congressman John Garamendi (D-CA), who represents Travis Air Force Base in Congress, sent a letter to President Trump, Vice President Pence, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Robert Redfield and others demanding immediate action to remedy significant health and safety hazards at the Travis Air Force Base that Garamendi’s constituents brought to his attention.

Several hundred Californians from the Grand Princess Cruise were evacuated to Travis Air Force Base beginning Monday, March 9, after 22 passengers and crew on ship tested positive for the novel coronavirus. After several days in the quarantine, several of Garamendi’s constituents grew concerned about the lack of social distancing and inadequate measures being taken to maintain a sanitary environment within the quarantine. Garamendi’s letter outlines the issues that have been brought to his attention and demands immediate solutions to ensure the health and safety of the evacuees.

“I’ve received troubling images of long lines without social distancing for communal meals and beverages,” Garamendi says in his letter. “I’ve been told by individuals within the quarantine that evacuees touched serving utensils and other items with their bare hands, potentially exposing others to the virus. I am glad to hear that meals are now delivered to individual rooms after I brought this issue to the attention of HHS staff. However, I am troubled to hear that coffee is still served in communal areas, rather than brewed in existing coffee makers in the individuals’ rooms.”

“I’ve also heard that there are inadequate hand-washing and surface cleaning materials on-site,” Garamendi continued. “From what I have been told, the only hand-washing available to individuals is a bar of soap in their rooms. While HHS has contracted with a cleaning service for the building, I have heard that it is understaffed to maintain the standard of cleaning required in a medical quarantine and the number of individuals staying in the hotel. This negligence has left frequently touched surfaces improperly sanitized and failed to provide cleaning services for individual rooms.”

“As public servants, there is no greater priority than the health and safety of the communities we represent. I urge you to address this matter immediately, and I look forward to your response,” Garamendi concluded.

The full text of Rep. Garamendi’s letter can be viewed here.