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The U.S. Cyber Center of Excellence and Fort Gordon held its eighth COVID-19 Town Hall on Thursday.

Using videoconferencing technology, senior leaders participated either from their home or work office, providing the community updates on events and concerns surrounding COVID-19.

Maj. Gen. Neil S. Hersey, CCoE and Fort Gordon commanding general, said he spoke with local civilian leaders from surrounding communities earlier in the week as a mean to keep communication lines open.

“Our kids go to the same schools as folks in the community, we go to the same religious institutions and exercise the same commercial services, so it’s really important for us to be in active communication with everyone in the community and vice versa,” he explained.

As the state of Georgia transitions from a mandatory “shelter in place” order to public facilities reopening after being closed for several weeks, Hersey said it is imperative that service members remember Fort Gordon General Order No. 1 remains in effect until further notice.

“This measure will remain in place irrespective of the changes in the local government,” Hersey said. “I will ensure that those protection measures stay in place to ensure that our population has a safe and secure environment … but I will frequently review those procedures and adjust them as the conditions permit.”

Fort Gordon Garrison Commander Col. Jim Clifford update on garrison services and facility closures included very few changes since the last town hall. The biggest change and most recent change took effect on Wednesday with the Fort Gordon Commissary. Patrons who are 70 years or above and/or mobility handicapped now have “front of the line” privileges for the first hour of the afternoon (1-2 p.m.). There is no change to military and their dependents access, which remains 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. All others will be granted access to shop from 2 p.m. until closing.

Clifford said certain items such as toilet paper, paper towels, and cleaning products that were once difficult to keep on shelves now have a maximum purchase limit and are being restocked, so patrons should not worry if they are not first in line.

“Don’t be panicked,” Clifford said. “There is still plenty to be had throughout the day regardless of what time you come.”

Col. Carlene A.S Blanding, Eisenhower Army Medical Center commander, said she and her staff have been receiving a lot of questions wanting to know when the hospital will resume normal services, wo which she responded they are engaging in a very “deliberate process to ensure that we take all precautionary measures as we return to our new normal.”

Pharmacy services that have been implemented as a result of COVID-19 have been largely successful, as is the 24/7 COVID-19 Hotline, which has received close to 1,000 calls since its inception.

Brig. Gen. Christopher Eubank, CCoE and Fort Gordon deputy commanding general for operations, said that while all permanent change of station orders are on hold until June 30, Soldier-trainee movement has not come to a complete stop.

“If your Soldier is in [Advanced Individual Training] coming to Fort Gordon, we will receive them,” Eubank said.

In closing, Hersey expressed his gratitude for first responders, crediting them with minimizing the negative impact the pandemic has had on the installation.

“My assessment with the Fort Gordon area is I think as a team, we got ahead of this at the right point in time, which is why we’ve seen a relatively low rate compared to the rest of the country, and really compared to the rest of the state,” he said.

He also urged everyone to continue using social distance measures, telework as much as possible, stay abreast of CDC guidelines, and remain positive about the situation.

“This is trending in a good direction and we need everyone’s continued vigilance and involvement to keep this trending in that positive direction,” Hersey said.

The next Fort Gordon COVID-19 Town Hall will be held May 14.

For footage of the town hall and a link for the slides shown during the town hall, visit the Fort Gordon Facebook page.