LEXINGTON PARK, Md. — Even though there has yet to be any confirmed cases at Pax River or in St. Mary’s County, workers shouldn’t expect much to change due to the novel coronavirus(COVID-19). The PAX River Public Affairs Officer Patrick Gordon confirmed that the base isn’t expecting any huge impacts to operations “in the near future.”

“We would have to anticipate a severe impact to a majority of our population to restrict access to the base and limit activities to mission essential functions,” Gordon explained. “In the meantime, we’re improving access to telework, collaborating with our tenant command and regional partners, and promoting healthy habits to help mitigate personnel exposure and continue mission readiness.”

This is not to say that the recognition of this outbreak’s potential havoc goes unrecognized by the naval base. The well-being of individuals working on and around Pax River is crucial to staying operational.

“Mission readiness is essential, and the health of our personnel is essential to that readiness,” Gordon said. “There is currently no impact to mission readiness, mission essential functions, or critical mission facilities at Pax River… Anyone who does feel ill is advised to stay home and to call their medical provider. [Anyone] contracting a respiratory illness shouldn’t assume novel coronavirus.”

However, in a memorandum put out by the U.S. Deputy Secretary of Defense David Norquist on Mar. 13, the Department of Defense(DoD) has implemented domestic and overseas travel restrictions for personnel. The declaration which will restrict travel for DoD military and civilian personnel as well as their families, is currently in effect until May 11 which will be 60 days from the original declaration date.

Even with these restrictions, the St. Mary’s County Health Officer Dr. Meenakshi G. Brewster wants to make sure the county is able to continue supporting the base’s needs during what the World Health Organization has declared a “global pandemic”.

“[We] have been talking with them as well just checking in to see if there’s any needs,” Brewster said in reference to Pax River. “The health department [and] infectious disease team communicates with them and their medical staff there on a pretty regular basis.”

Additionally, the relationship between Pax River and St. Mary’s County is something that the county’s emergency services department has said they are more than content with going into the upcoming mitigation period.

“The relationship is a good, strong relationship,” Stephen Walker, the director of emergency services for the county explained. “We work together, and they’re a part of our group. They were invited and certainly they’re going to be a part of [this] because we certainly are going to share resources with them… it’s a good, strong relationship that works very well together.”

“They are a part of our community,” Walker said.

TheBaynet.com plans to provide the community updates on this developing story.

Contact Zach at zach.hill@thebaynet.com