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    Fort Stewart MP’s recovery from COVID-19 highlights leader’s discipline and resiliency

    Fort Stewart MP’s recovery from COVID-19 highlights leader’s discipline and resiliency

    Photo By Staff Sgt. Todd Pouliot | Staff Sgt. Nicholas Maggio, a military police noncommissioned officer and squad leader...... read more read more



    Story by Staff Sgt. Todd Pouliot 

    50th Public Affairs Detachment

    Staff Sgt. Nicholas Maggio is a military police officer and squad leader assigned to 139th Military Police Company, 385th MP Battalion, 16th MP Brigade. Like most leaders, he consistently strives to be present for his Soldiers, particularly when it comes to starting the day with physical training.

    On the morning of May 13, Maggio woke up not feeling well. For the past few months, he had been reminding his Soldiers of what to do if they experience symptoms of COVID-19, based upon the guidance pushed out from the 3rd Infantry Division commanding general. As much as he felt compelled to conduct PT with his Soldiers, Maggio made a critical decision that likely protected, not only his Soldiers, but his Family, and their Families, as well.

    “It hit me very fast,” Maggio said. “The symptoms kind of came overnight.”

    Maggio left his home for PT at 5:55 a.m., but while driving, he considered the welfare of his Soldiers. Although he was skeptical he had contracted COVID-19 — he and his Family had been following all command directives to minimize risk — he knew he needed to make the right decision. He called the nurse advice hotline from his truck and was directed to go to Marne Medic Troop Medical Clinic for COVID-19 screening, and to notify his chain of command.

    “Staff Sgt. Maggio is exceptional,” said Capt. Nicholas Huether, 139th Military Police Company commander. “He’s a very selfless individual, and knew what was the right thing to do.”

    A medical Soldier greeted Maggio, took his temperature and asked him a series of questions related to his symptoms, travel history and contacts. A medical provider then further evaluated Maggio before he was administered a COVID-19 nasal test.

    “Later that morning, I started to get severe back pain and muscle spasms,” said Maggio, who was advised to go home and prepare to isolate for a minimum of 14 days. “It felt like every single muscle in my leg was contracting.”

    Around noon, Huether received a call that Maggio’s test was positive for COVID-19. Maggio was notified soon afterward, and assured he and his Family would be supported throughout the recovery process.

    “We ensured that he had what he needed for health, food, or any type of support,” Huether said. “Whatever he and his Family needed, we would drop it off at his place.”

    Those who were identified to be at risk, through contact tracing, were sent home to quarantine. Their tests all came back negative within a few days. Out of prudence, these Soldiers remained on quarantine and monitored for symptoms.

    Maj. Robert Levesque, senior physician assistant assigned to 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 3ID, was involved with Maggio’s medical treatment.

    “With young healthy Soldiers, it's generally mild when they contract Coronavirus,” said Levesque. “We take care of their cough and fever by providing the medications that they need. Then we monitor them through resolution.”

    Along with a cough and fever, the severe back pain and muscle spasms lasted until the next morning, and made it extremely difficult to sleep overnight, said Maggio. But what was most difficult for Maggio, was the fear of passing the virus to his daughter and wife.

    “My life changed drastically because I have a wife and daughter at home, and their safety was most important to me,” said Maggio, who restricted himself to a spare bedroom and bathroom, and consistently disinfected any object which could possibly be contaminated by the virus. “The worst part of having COVID-19 was keeping that distance from my wife and daughter.”

    Because of that distancing, and adhering to strict isolation protocols, there were no other COVID-19 infections, neither at home, nor within Maggio’s unit.

    After about 14 days, Maggio got the news that he tested negative for COVID-19, and no longer needed to isolate himself.

    “I felt extremely relieved,” said Maggio, on receiving his test results. “I was excited to get back to work. I was excited to eat dinner with my Family. I was excited to do a lot of things. I feel better every day.”

    Maggio returned to work June 3, leading his Soldiers in PT, and supervising their daily duties. He said he is very grateful to all who cared for him and his Family through the 14 days of quarantine.

    “The medical personnel really did a great job,” said Maggio. “I think what they do is often overlooked; they’re putting their lives at risk every single day to ensure that every Soldier in this community is safe and healthy. I think it's the steps that the organization took, and the steps that Maj. Gen. Aguto has taken that we all know what we need to do when and if we feel potential symptoms of COVID-19.”

    Levesque also credited 3ID and Fort Stewart/Hunter Army Airfield leadership for minimizing the spread of COVID-19 by keeping the community informed and implementing preventative measures.

    “We have minimized the risk as best we can,” Levesque said. “When we talk about the importance of tracing, it's absolutely crucial. We can identify people who may have contracted the illness from the initial patient. By using our ability to quarantine people and getting the commanders involved with public health, it allows us to minimize the exposure to the general population.”

    Capt. Patrick Pead, acting deputy chief of Installation Department of Health, is directly involved in contact tracing and minimizing the spread of COVID-19 in the FSGA/HAAF community.

    “Early on in the process, we understood that we needed to create a clinic that was specifically dedicated to Soldiers requiring care for COVID-like symptoms,” Pead said. “We wanted to make sure that there was a site that was separated from the main hospital campus, and the main Troop Medical Clinic (Hawks TMC) so that we weren't exposing other vulnerable populations. So a fever clinic was created at the Marne Medic TMC at the 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team area, specifically for the purpose of triaging, treating and testing Soldiers with COVID-like symptoms.”

    Pead recognized the unique role units provide Soldiers and Families affected by COVID-19.

    “If a Soldier tests positive for COVID, we ask the Family members to come in to be tested; imagine they also test positive,” Pead said. The unit is essential in supporting not only the Soldier, but the Family, as well.

    Before returning to work, Maggio took the opportunity to personally thank many who supported him and his Family during his recovery. Looking back at the decision he made, May 13, just before he was to join his squad for morning PT, Maggio thinks about his Soldiers and their Families.

    “I was going to do PT with my squad that morning,” Maggio said. “But I started to think of second and third order effects our decisions have.”

    Maggio knew that the outcome of contracting COVID-19 remains a mystery since symptoms vary in severity for different people. Potentially infecting his Soldiers, who in turn, could infect their Families, was a risk he could not take.



    Date Taken: 06.11.2020
    Date Posted: 06.15.2020 21:24
    Story ID: 372186
    Location: FORT STEWART, GA, US 

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