By Scott PraterMountaineer staffEditor’s note: This was updated as of Wednesday. For the most up-to-date information visit https://www.carson.army.mil/, and follow Facebook @USArmyFortCarson.FORT CARSON, Colo. — Fort Carson has entered a unique phase in its history. In response to the local and national COVID-19 pandemic, Maj. Gen. Matthew W. McFarlane, commanding general, 4th Infantry Division and Fort Carson, declared a public health emergency for the installation March 24, 2020.The commanding general also set the post’s Health Protection Condition (HPCON) to the Charlie level March 24, 2020, signaling the increase of mitigation and protection measures postwide.“Declaring a public health emergency at Fort Carson frees up more resources that will allow us to be more proactive in our approach to protecting the safety and health of our Soldiers, Family members, civilians and community neighbors,” McFarlane said. “We will continue to work to balance readiness with mitigating the effects and potential spread of COVID-19.”Citing steps taken by Colorado Governor Jared Polis and Denver City Mayor Michael Hancock, which included ordering employers statewide to cut in-person workers at nonessential businesses by 50 percent and stay-at-home orders for Denver area residents, McFarlane expects local, state and national directives to become more restrictive.“This should highlight to us all that the virus is spreading rapidly and is a significant threat,” he said. “This is not one we’re used to because it is invisible, silent and latent, but we need to continue to take this seriously. My intent is to do everything we can to slow the virus’s spread, and flatten its curve with respect to new cases. It will continue to impact our lives and our Families’ lives around the world.”To date, over 11,000 individuals have been screened on post and the number increases every hour, according to the commanding general.Thus far, Fort Carson has experienced four positive cases of COVID-19. One Department of the Army civilian, a nurse at Evans Army Community Hospital (EACH) tested positive March 23. She was tested off post and is currently isolated off post.“We are providing care for her and have notified all patients and staff who may have had contact with her,” McFarlane said.Two Colorado National Guard Soldiers have also tested positive for the virus and are in isolation at the post’s Regional Training Institute. The Soldiers were part of a statewide testing team and were tested off post. A civilian dependent who also showed positive for COVID-19 was tested off post and is in isolation off post.Raising Fort Carson’s HPCON to Charlie results in increasing restriction measures. A fact sheet explaining the details of the heightened protection level is available at the Fort Carson website, https://www.carson.army.mil/.“This means that unless you are part of emergency medical or supply services, part of essential support services here on post, mobilizing in support of the local or national response to COVID-19 or within 90 days of a deployment or other readiness tasks, you will not come to work,” McFarlane said.• All training events that do not fall into these categories will be postponed• There will be no more squad physical training (PT); Soldiers will perform PT individually or in buddy teams• Ivy Warrior restaurants will operate as grab-and-go facilities only• Hand cleaning will be required prior to entry to all on post facilities• The Soldier Readiness Processing center will be reserved for only those units mobilizing or preparing to deploy• Child Development Center operations will be reserved for personnel being designated as readiness critical• The Exchange and Commissary will remain open, but will restrict access during certain times of the day for certain populations; visit https://www.carson.army.mil/updates_closures.html for more hours and closures• Commissary hours are: Monday-Saturday, 9-11 a.m. for high-risk patrons only; 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. for Soldiers only; and 1-8 p.m., all eligible patrons; Sunday, 8-10 a.m. for high-risk patrons only;10 a.m. to noon for Soldiers only; noon to 6 p.m. for all eligible patrons“Please understand that we are taking these measures to best protect you, our Soldiers, civilians and retirees here at the Mountain Post and the greater Colorado Springs Area,” McFarlane said. “Where we need all of your help is enforcing our social distancing. It is in our nature, in our fabric as a cohesion-based organization and Army designed to work as a team, to be close to each other. I’d ask all of you to be conscious of keeping your distance, reducing large gatherings and continue to wash your hands.”Fort Carson will continue to provide updates on affected services and activities on the Fort Carson website at https://www.carson.army.mil/ and installation social media pages. Facebook live town hall updates @USArmyFortCarson will provide information and address community questions and concerns.For the latest information on COVID-19, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and DOD Coronavirus websites at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus and https://www.defense.gov/Explore/Spotlight/Coronavirus/, or call the Fort Carson COVID-19 hotline at 524-2684.If Fort Carson raises its HPCON level to Delta, the CDC recommends that personnel adopt the following guidelines• Expect to remain at home for extended periods of time as movement in the community may be restricted, and at-home isolation or quarantine may be directed.• Follow all directives and guidance from local, state and federal authorities; these actions are to protect the health and safety of you and your Family.