The U.S. Cyber Center of Excellence and Fort Gordon held a COVID Response Town Hall on Thursday. Much like the previous town hall, which was held Jan. 21, the latest one focused largely on the pandemic; specifically the COVID-19 vaccination.
Maj. Gen. Neil S. Hersey, Cyber Center of Excellence and Fort Gordon commanding general, opened the town hall by thanking first responders, emergency workers, and all who remain on the “frontlines” in the battle against the pandemic. He then remind everyone that as the installation’s senior leader, his top priority remains the health, welfare and safety of everyone on Fort Gordon.
“It remains central to every decision I make related to COVID-19 mitigation measures with regard to every decision that we make as a team here with what to close here on the installation and what measures to put into place,” Hersey said.
His other priorities include continuing operations/accomplishing missions, establishing hope and calmness amongst the ranks, preparing for more challenges, and planning/preparing for coming out of the pandemic. One way to accomplish the aforementioned is by communicating.
“Active communication is critical and has made this journey through this challenging time all the more possible,” Hersey said.
With COVID case trends going in the right direction (i.e. declining), communication will continue to play a critical role in defeating the virus. General Order No. 1, which as most recently updated on Nov. 19, remains in effect until further notice.
“I will get with my team, as I often do in this situation, and look at what adjustments we’ll potentially make to General Order No. 1 in the next week or so,” Hersey said. “As soon as we make any adjustments to that, we will get the information out [through] multiple means.”
Providing an update on the installation’s service, Fort Gordon Garrison Commander Col. Shaw Pick said that little has changed since the last town hall.
“As you’ve heard … things are trending in the right direction, but we’re not going to get complacent, so we’re holding our postures … hoping that we can re-evaluate our posture as time goes on.”
Everything that was open prior to the last meeting is still open, to include amenities such as the shooting range, horse stables, golf course, and others.
“This virus has changed how we do business, but it has not stopped us from doing business, and that’s the ‘good news’ story, I think.”
Speaking on behalf of Eisenhower Army Medical Center, Col. Brandon Pretlow, EAMC deputy commanding officer, expressed appreciation for the community’s patience with the COVID-19 vaccination process while providing updates on the hospital’s services. The hospital is currently only administering second doses of the vaccine to eligible beneficiaries due to availability. Pretlow said he anticipates the next shipment of first doses will arrive by mid-March, but based on current weather conditions, that date could be pushed back.
In the meantime, all other services within the hospital have resumed, he said, with virtual and face-to-face appointments as options.
“I encourage those that require face-to-face appointments to plan additional time to get into the facility based on some of the traffic constraints,” Pretlow said.
In closing, CCoE and Fort Gordon Command Sgt. Maj. Delia Quintero thanked the entire Fort Gordon community for their support and reminded everyone not to hesitate to ask questions.
“I always say continue to ask your questions either on Facebook, as Col. Kendall said, or … on any platform that we have,” Quintero said.
The next virtual town hall will be March 18 at 11 a.m.
“I look forward to meeting with you then. I would suspect as long as the trends continue to go in the right direction, we’ll be in a better place in terms of being able to open more of our facilities, but I would ask you to please remain vigilant,” Hersey said in his closing remarks. “The vaccine is a great step in the right direction, but we’re going to need to continue those protective measures and mask-wearing … to keep us safe.”
The latest version of General Order No. 1 can be found on the Fort Gordon Facebook page and by visiting the Fort Gordon homepage at home.army.mil/gordon/index.php/coronavirus.
For footage of the town hall, visit the Fort Gordon Facebook page.