Fort Rucker taking several measures to help prevent spread of COVID-19

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FORT RUCKER, Ala. (WTVY) -- Fort Rucker’s main mission is to train combat ready pilots and although that mission has not changed, they now have another mission to help stop the spread against COVID-19.

"First and foremost I'd like to say how proud I am of the soldiers, families and civilians of Fort Rucker," Fort Rucker Commanding General David Francis said.

The Department of Defense upgraded their protection level army wide to Charlie on Tuesday night to help combat the COVID-19 outbreak.

"We were already implementing many of the Charlie measures so this was not a huge leap for us and we were ready to go and was really not a concern for us," Major General David Francis added.

For nearly two weeks security has stopped touching IDs for those coming on post to limit contact.

First responders on post are also taking precautionary measures with personal protective equipment like gloves and masks.

"We've got to remain poised and ready to do what we have to do when we're called upon and of course we need to make sure we are adhering to those universal procedures and precautions," Fort Rucker Director of Public Safety Lieutenant Colonel Phil Lenz said.

The Department of Public Safety is limiting their in person meetings and going to phone interviews to gather information.

"From a law enforcement perspective we're being very smart about how we handle cases, how we handle investigations,” Colonel Lenz continued. “Of course if it is an urgent requirement, we will respond as per our normal procedures."

Lyster Army Health Clinic has changed to pick up prescriptions only to limit the amount of traffic in and out of the hospital.

They have also started testing on post for those with symptoms or coming from a location they believe is high risk, but have to send those tests off post to get the results.

"We are working on getting a test capability here,” General Francis explained. “We should have that in the near future where we will be able to do the testing right here on Fort Rucker."

General Francis has been in contact with the surrounding mayors to inform one another what precautions each are taking.

"We have soldiers and family members that live, work and play in the local communities so it's important for all of us to work together. We all have a responsibility for social distancing. We all have a responsibility to reduce our travel."

The chapels on post are also adapting to the times.

"Our pastors of been preaching virtually the last two weeks coming up very soon, Sunday and it's been a challenge because we haven't done this before," Garrison Chaplain Colonel Charles Hamlin said.

Fort Rucker is also restricting soldiers and Department of Defense employees from traveling more than a 50 mile radius of the military installation.

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