FORT RUCKER, Ala. (WTVY) -- [UPDATE: 3/12/2020 at 7:04:54 PM]
Fort Rucker is taking a precautionary step to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus, otherwise known as COVID-19.
Starting Friday morning gate guards will no longer handle identification cards or visitor badges. Drivers will now hold their cards front-facing towards the guards, and then turn it over for scanning.
Recent reports say the Coronavirus may live for up to three days on surfaces such as plastic and metal.
According to Fort Rucker officials, other military facilities are implementing this same procedure.
Fort Rucker Director of Public Affairs Jimmie Cummings, Jr. in response to a WTVY inquiry says the post is following all Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines.
They're encouraging soldiers to take the well-known prevention measures of handwashing, coving coughs and sneezes, and cleaning commonly touched surfaces. You can read his complete statement below.
In a briefing on Tuesday DOD officials at the Pentagon gave spoke about how the Armed Forces are preparing to fight the Coronavirus.
"The Department of Defense has had plans for dealing with disease outbreaks like this for years," said Air Force Brig. Gen. Paul Friedrichs, the Joint Staff surgeon. "Each base has a plan that is coordinated with local authorities," he added.
"If we go back to any successful response, it starts with a strong local public health authority and good plans that are not unique to one employer, like the DOD, but to the whole community," the general said.
"Across the force, three active-duty service members — one in South Korea, one in Europe and one in the U.S. — four family members, one government civilian, and one contractor have so far been diagnosed with COVID-19," Friedrichs said.
Friedrichs later told reporters that the No. 1 thing he’d like to know about COVID-19 is whether it's seasonal. "Because if it is seasonal, then it will start to burn out in the next couple of months," he said. "And that buys us a little bit more time until the fall when it comes back. And that means that we have more time to work on medical countermeasures, work on vaccines, and all the other things that we have for the flu."
Thursday Moody Air Force Base leadership has been notified by the Georgia Department of Public Health that an employee at the base dining facility has tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19) infection.
[FORT RUCKER STATEMENT]
The Army, as well as the leadership here at Fort Rucker, is committed to ensuring the health and safety of our Soldiers, family members, retirees, and civilians both at home and abroad.
We are taking precautionary measures to protect the health of the force and maintain operational readiness. We will continue to evaluate current day-to-day operations to ensure the safety of all of our Soldiers, family members, and civilian personnel. We encourage all personnel to follow the guidance issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Force health protection is our top priority. Protecting the force includes mitigating the spread of the virus by following recommended preventive measures such as frequent hand washing, avoiding close contact, with sick individuals, covering coughs and sneezes, cleaning frequently touched objects and surfaces, staying home when feeling ill, and avoiding touching eyes, nose, and/or mouth.
We are encouraging all Army personnel and their Families here at Fort Rucker to follow the Force Health Protection guidance and supplements as well as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance.
We are following risk-based measures consistent with guidance from the Department of Defense and the Centers for Disease Control, and with consideration of travel advisories and disease-mitigation measures from the Department of State and applicable host nations.
We encourage all personnel to continue to practice proper hygiene as the best way to prevent the spread of viruses. This includes washing hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Also, avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands and avoid close contact with those who are sick. Cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched objects and surfaces should also be done.