Fort Leonard Wood leadership held a virtual town hall Wednesday — live streamed via the Fort Leonard Wood Facebook page — to address community concerns and provide updates on COVID-19 prevention and response efforts.
Maj. Gen. Donna Martin, Maneuver Support Center of Excellence and Fort Leonard Wood commanding general, focused her remarks on appreciation for the military and civilian team; information about the post’s one positive COVID-19 case; and, addressing topics of common concern across the Fort Leonard Wood community. Topics of concern addressed include: the status of inbound and current trainees and their movement, finding reliable information on COVID-19, and how post leadership is keeping the workforce protected.
Martin said that Fort Leonard Wood has seen its first positive case of COVID-19, and she shared the facts as they were briefed to her March 21.
“The Soldier who tested positive was granted leave and was in New York in early March, before the Secretary of Defense issued the stop movement order,” she said. “According to our established protocols, when returning to duty at Fort Leonard Wood, the Soldier went directly to medical screening and was placed in isolation due to symptoms. Our processes and protocols worked well and as designed.”
Martin said that she was happy to report that the Soldier is doing well and will remain under care in isolation for the time being.
“It’s important to remember that, like this Soldier did, contacting your chain of command and our Harper Clinic is critical to proper disposition and reducing the chances of contact with others,” she said. “The Soldier and the team did their duty to keep the rest of us safe. Each of us must continue to do the same.”
Martin then spoke on the status of trainees and their movement.
“We continue to receive new recruits entering basic combat training,” she said. “We understand that some states have restrictions on movement, and if your new recruit is in one of those states and has not shipped, please speak directly to your recruiter.”
Martin said that trainees already en route to basic combat training or advanced individual training will be received at Fort Leonard Wood — they will be screened and quarantined or isolated if necessary.
Martin added that trainees currently in basic combat training, advanced individual training and one station unit training are still training to standard.
“Last week, all of our trainees were instructed to and given the opportunity to call home,” she said. “We won’t do this every week, but I made this exception based on the situation.”
Martin said she personally re-addressed social distancing and preventive measures for training with leadership, and “we are implementing the guidance received by the Army and the (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). We continue to adapt and respond to protect our force.”
Martin also added that there are currently no family days, but each unit is providing access to view graduations virtually.
In addition, Martin added:
— There are also no family pick-ups after training and no leave en route from BCT to AIT.
— Army Reserve and National Guard members who complete training will still return home unless their states have a travel restriction. Reservists and Guardsmen are encouraged to coordinate with local liaison officers as well as chains of command in the Guard and Reserves to sort out specific situations.
— The Army is still working through transportation for Soldiers graduating AIT and OSUT and moving to their first units of assignment.
“We will communicate more with you when we know,” Martin said.
On the topic of reliable sources of information on COVID-19, Martin praised the Fort Leonard Wood website — https://home.army.mil/wood/index.php/coronavirus.
“It mirrors information on the CDC site but keeps it relevant to our situation here,” she said.
Martin added that the CDC, as well as state and county health websites and their social media are updated frequently.
“States, counties and cities are adapting to the situation so please keep yourselves abreast of information in your local area,” she said. “I am still directing leaders to continue to share releasable, factual need-to-know information with employees and colleagues and continue to maintain an environment where asking questions is expected and promoted.”
She said that supervisors should always be the first stop for workforce questions.
Martin then addressed how Fort Leonard Wood is keeping its workforce safe.
She said that the stop movement order is designed to slow the spread of COVID-19 while protecting every person, “not just those restricted from movement. All of the common hygiene practices, screenings, changes to virtual gatherings and meetings, telework, take-out only at food vendors, virtual chapel services and social distancing we have been doing for weeks are to keep every person safe.”
Martin closed the virtual town hall with a notice that Fort Leonard Wood has been told to elevate its health protection condition to Charlie, and that she has another Facebook Live address scheduled for 9 a.m. Central Standard Time on Friday.
“That does not mean the installation will close,” she said. “We will provide you all of the impacts and the facts as we know them when we come back on Friday.”
Finally, Martin spoke on the best ways to stay safe.
“Be honest and stay home if you are sick,” she said. “Follow federal and state guidelines for distancing and limitation; stay away from our hospital and call Harper if you suspect exposure to or symptoms of COVID-19; and practice all preventive measures where you live, work and travel.”
The Harper In-processing Screening Clinic has been put in place for the Fort Leonard Wood workforce, service members and their families, and can be reached at 573.596.3663.
Many common questions that have been asked during other forums were asked online; answers to frequently asked questions can be found on the Fort Leonard Wood COVID-19 web page at: