Congressman Earl L. "Buddy" Carter, U.S. Representative of Georgia's 1st District, visited Winn Army Community Hospital, Aug. 11 on Fort Stewart, Ga.
Carter met with Fort Stewart’s garrison commander Col. Bryan Logan and Stewart’s Medical Department Activity command team at Winn to discuss new COVID-19 policies and preventative measures.
Since Fort Stewart was put under Health Protection Condition Charlie, which indicates there is a substantial risk for sustained community transmission of the COVID-19 disease, the first matter on the agenda was how things were looking inside the hospitals and updates on how things are going around the installation.
“For daily operations, we have normal appointments, but they are virtual, and we also have a drive-thru pharmacy,” said Col. Julie Freeman, the Fort Stewart MEDDAC commander. “We ensure that deploying forces and clusters of people who may have been at a large gathering get tested as soon as possible. From there, we start tracing people who the quarantined may have interacted with.”
Logan added that a few things they have done to mitigate the spread was make it mandatory for everyone to wash their hands and wear a face mask upon entry of any building on the installation. Fort Stewart service members are not allowed to eat indoors off-post or attend large gatherings in accordance with Army General Order 1.
“I’m really impressed,” said Carter. “The rates here have plateaued and it shows with the preventative measures in place.”
As a result of COVID-19, Soldier readiness training needed to be modified because most training resulted in Soldiers being within six feet of each other. The next topic discussed was how Soldiers are training and deploying under strict COVID-19 guidelines.
“Right now, our 1st [Armored] Brigade [Combat Team] is in the field,” said Logan. “Before entering the training area, everyone receives a COVID-19 screening and washes their hands at washing stations. This mitigates the risk and focuses on the health of our readily available force.”
One of the last discussions before Carter parted ways with Fort Stewart officials illustrated how area schools plan on re-opening and how those schools are limiting viral spread. While some schools decided to delay their first day, others have given parents an option of in-class or online instruction.
“One of the ways we are working with our service members with kids is working with their hours depending on the case,” said Logan. “At Liberty County schools, every kid is issued an iPad. They will log into classes based on their normal bell schedule. The upside is that the older kids can watch their younger siblings while their parents are at work. They will not be getting those social skills they would typically get in person though.”
Carter said COVID-19 has been tough to tackle but the effort the Marne community made to minimize exposure has not affected 3rd ID’s readiness.