The U.S. Cyber Center of Excellence and Fort Gordon held a COVID Response Town Hall on April 15. The last town hall was on Feb. 18, at which time discussions were centered on the COVID-19 vaccine.
Col. John Batson, U.S. Army Signal School commandant, provided opening remarks in place of Maj. Gen. Neil S. Hersey, Cyber Center of Excellence and Fort Gordon commanding general, who was away for training.
Hersey’s most recent update to General Order No. 1, on April 8, is a sign that Fort Gordon is moving in the right direction with the installation having transitioned from Health Protection Condition (HPCON) Charlie to HPCON Bravo, no longer making it “restricted for official travel only.”
“Because of the resolute efforts of the whole team here at Fort Gordon, we’ve been able to maintain our tempo to provide the force with fully trained and capable signal, cyber, and electronic warfare personnel,” Batson said.
While the installation is open, Batson reminded the community that everyone on Fort Gordon must continue to adhere to safety measures in place, which includes the face-covering mandate.
Fort Gordon Garrison Commander Col. Shaw Pick said he encourages eligible patrons to come out and get a pass for the day, adding that the Fort Gordon MWR Facebook page is a great resource for upcoming events.
“Help yourself to the services that are available to you here, and join us for what has been an active spring and is gearing up – hopefully, if conditions remain the way they are – to be a more active summer,” Pick said. “We’re posturing and leaning toward starting up some activities that we didn’t do last summer, and that’s great news because of where we have collectively gotten ourselves with COVID.”
The return of activities isn’t the only major change the community can expect to see over spring and summer. Pick said there are major construction projects beginning that will lead to several road closures; some permanent, others temporary. These projects and closures will have a significant impact on traffic patterns over the next several years.
“We will message those through forums like this and other garrison town halls that I host quarterly, and our Facebook page as well,” Pick said.
Eisenhower Army Medical Center remains a vital component in the fight against COVID-19 as the hospital continues its vaccine distribution efforts while following the Department of Defense Population Distribution Schema directed by President Joe Biden.
Col. Carlene A. S Blanding, EAMC commander, said she was excited to announce that the hospital has transitioned from a Moderna vaccination site to Pfizer vaccination site and is now in Phase 2 of the schema, which opens the vaccine up to beneficiaries 16 years and older. Beneficiaries must get with their provider to schedule an appointment to receive the vaccine.
“We will not do walk-ins,” Blanding emphasized.
The COVID Infoline (706-787-8864), which had existed for more than a year, was recently deactivated. Beneficiaries should contact their primary care manager or the Public Health Office if they have questions pertaining to COVID-19.
“Both areas are tracking and will be able to assist you with any questions that you might have,” Blanding said.
In closing, CCoE and Fort Gordon Command Sgt. Maj. Delia Quintero thanked first responders, garrison personnel and hospital staff for their ongoing efforts.
“They have been going 24-7 during this COVID environment either just to provide health services or keep the base open for us to keep some type of normalcy,” Quintero said.
She also said that although the community appears to be heading in the right direction, that does not put it in the “all clear.”
“I ask that you continue to wear your mask, maintain your distance, practice good hygiene, educate yourself on the different vaccines that are out there, and volunteer to take the vaccine, and I want to thank those that have taken the vaccine in order for us to mitigate the contamination of this COVID,” she said.
The next virtual town hall will be May 20.
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.