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    A TEMPORARY NEW NORMAL - Fort Gordon proactive in COVID-19 battle



    Story by Laura Levering 

    Fort Gordon Public Affairs Office

    The U.S. Cyber Center of Excellence and Fort Gordon held its third COVID-19 Town Hall on Thursday.

    Keeping health and safety a priority, leadership held the event from the garrison commander’s conference room while practicing physical distancing.

    The purpose of the town hall was to educate the community on COVID-19 and provide updates on the way ahead for Fort Gordon.

    Maj. Gen. Neil S. Hersey, CCoE and Fort Gordon commanding general, opened the town hall by saying that the COVID-19 pandemic is a “fluid situation,” and encouraged everyone to turn to their chain of command for issues they have.

    “We will all get through this health emergency together,” Hersey said. “Here on Fort Gordon, the [Emergency] Operations Center is operating around the clock to ensure the safety and wellbeing of everyone on post.”
    Several safety measures have been implemented since the previous town hall, to include the limits of travel, which changed from four hours to within 100 miles of Fort Gordon.

    Hersey urged the community to join together in becoming part of the solution to the virus, before turning the platform over to Lt. Col. Wendy Miklos, Department of Public Health, Eisenhower Army Medical Center.
    Miklos opened with a diagram illustrating the number of positive COVID-19 cases in Georgia and around the country. To date, there are more than 68,000 known cases in the U.S., and more than 1,200 in Georgia.

    “When it comes to protecting ourselves, we know that there is about a 1 to 1.5 percent death rate, and that’s typically among elderly individuals and those with underlying comorbidities,” Miklos said.

    Col. Carlene S. Blanding, EAMC’s commanding officer, offered assurance that she and her hospital staff are taking all protective measures against the virus. One of the most noticeable measures is a screening process, which is required before entering the hospital.

    Patient protective measures include the establishment of an “influenza-like illness clinic.”

    “What this does is eliminate the traffic flow within our emergency room and allows us to see patients in our tent city that we have established,” Blanding explained.

    The hospital isn’t the only place that has undergone major changes in response to COVID-19. The Main Exchange Pharmacy has been changed to a curbside, refill pick-up only for prescriptions.

    “The process has really been streamlined, and I’ve heard positive things from you as patients and from the Eisenhower team that this is going well, and so we thank you for supporting us in that endeavor,” Blanding said.

    Blanding recommended checking EAMC’s website ( for the latest on services available.

    “We have tried as much as possible to eliminate face-to-face services to ensure that both your safety and the safety of our staff is of utmost importance,” Blanding said.

    Fort Gordon Garrison Commander Col. Jim Clifford provided an overview of services that have changed since the previous town hall. Currently, the vast majority of recreational events and activities have either been canceled, closed or postponed. A few exceptions include the Fort Gordon Golf Course, disc golf, and the outdoor firing range.

    “We are allowing those types of activities where you can have some stand-off from your fellow man and be able to do social distancing as required,” Clifford said.

    All restaurants on post have gone to “take out” or “carry out” only.
    All fitness facilities have either been closed or limited to active duty for showering only. Cyber and Nelson Fitness Centers have been converted to logistical support areas to allow for operations involving service members arriving from overseas and as needed.

    “We currently have no Soldiers in those LSAs; we have those stood up as a contingency option,” Clifford said.

    Addressing concerns with Soldiers in training, 15th Signal Brigade Commander Col. John Batson said the biggest change between last week’s town hall and the present is that Soldiers may no longer receive visitors until the COVID-19 pandemic has passed. Furthermore, graduations are being conducted at the company level. Other precautions include staggered seating while dining, reduced class sizes and bus capacity, increased number of handwashing stations, and restricted partner-assisted exercises.

    Following Batson, the town hall opened to viewers for a Q&A session.

    In closing, Fort Gordon Command Sgt. Maj. Delia Quintero said,
    “We know there is a lot of anxiety and a lot of uncertainty out there to include a lot of questions … Make no mistake that our No. 1 priority is to protect you and your family,” Quintero said. “Please continue to follow CDC guidelines, have trust in the leadership, leverage your leadership to answer all questions and assist you in anything that you may need.”

    For complete footage of the town hall and a link for the slides shown during the town hall, visit the Fort Gordon Facebook page.



    Date Taken: 03.27.2020
    Date Posted: 01.01.2021 14:14
    Story ID: 366025
    Location: FORT GORDON, GA, US 

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