Fort Leavenworth Continues the COVID-19 Battle
Despite a sharp uptick in numbers of COVID-19 cases nationwide due to the Omicron variant, Fort Leavenworth has not seen an increase in hospitalization rates, a fact that the Combined Arms Center Command Surgeon credits largely to a vaccination rate of greater than 90 percent of the workforce and residents of the post.
Dr. (COL) Jimmy Watts, M.D., the CAC Command Surgeon, recognizes that the record-breaking number of cases is a cause for concern, but is grateful that Fort Leavenworth is a largely vaccinated community.
“With an exceptionally high vaccination rate at Fort Leavenworth, the threat of the COVID-19 Omicron strain is much different for our community,” Watts said. “While our community still feels the impact of being exposed to the Omicron Variant, we have had no cases thus far requiring hospitalization.”
Watts points to two main factors that make this current COVID spike different for Fort Leavenworth than the nationwide spike seen over a year ago. “This isn’t the same virus, and we are not the same community,” Watts said. “The Omicron variant, while more contagious than the Delta variant, does not appear to be as virulent, particularly among the vaccinated.”
COVID safety protocols for CAC remain in effect, to include frequent hand washing, maintaining social distance, and wearing masks while indoors in all post facilities and offices. The CAC Commanding General, Lt. Gen. Theodore Martin, empowered leadership to decide what is best for the people in their individual organizations, allowing telework where appropriate and making accommodations when warranted.
In addition, Lt. Gen. Martin recently sent post leadership his “three simple rules for success” as we continue to operate in a COVID environment. Those rules are:
1. First and foremost, if you are sick, stay home. This rule applies regardless of whether you are experiencing COVID symptoms or another illness. We should be creating a work environment that promotes taking sick leave if you are sick to mitigate the spread of this virus and others.
2. Get tested if you have had close contact with someone who tested positive for COVID or are experiencing symptoms. If you feel you have COVID, call the Munson appointment line at (913) 684-6250 for COVID screening.
3. Follow the updated protocol. CAC has produced a flowchart that explains the updated quarantine and isolation protocol from the CDC for anyone who has had close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID.
Dr. Watts emphasized the need to stay vigilant as we continue to battle the pandemic. “It is important to note that we must continue to fight the pandemic fatigue that we are all feeling. The fundamentals remain important: timely vaccination dosing, appropriate mask wear, and making risk based decisions with off duty engagements. Stay connected and engaged. It will take all of us to keep our Fort Leavenworth family safe.”