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    Fort Jackson reiterates COVID-19 precautions



    Story by Leslie Ann Sully 

    Fort Jackson Public Affairs Office

    Fort Jackson Commander Brig. Gen. Milford H. Beagle, Jr. hosted the 30th Bi-weekly Virtual Town Hall on Special Topics with 165th Infantry Brigade Commander Col. Eric Flesch and Moncrief Army Health Clinic Commander Col. Tara Hall. LaTrice Langston and Leslie Ann Sully from the public affairs office also participated.
    This iteration was different due to new Secretary of Defense mask wearing policy, causing everyone except Beagle to remote in to the town hall.
    Beagle addressed the new General Order #3 and said it had a lot of new guidance. For this audience, he announced travel radius restrictions, have been lifted.
    We are doing very well on the installation in terms of our positivity rate so now it is matter of the cadre and the civilians being safe when they are away from post, he said.
    “I am comfortable and trust everyone to do that because we have proved that point,” Beagle said.
    The town hall then focused on basic trainees with Flesch showing basic training photos with people using gloves and explained it wasn’t because the weather was cold but to ensure safety of items that several people touch.
    “We continue to modify and adapt to continue to train in the COVID environment,” Flesch said. “Masks and gloves are used just as we use earing protection.”
    Flesch then explained the two week monitoring phase to find out if anyone has COVID-19. We establish a bubble so we can train and do things just like you do in your own homes, he said. “We want to be able to eat and sleep comfortably.”
    Next, Hall reminded us of all we have been doing to combat COVID-19.
    “We have been on a defense for almost a year with COVID,” Hall said. She explained the layered protections we have been using such as: testing; isolation and quarantine; social distancing; mask wearing and hand hygiene and other sanitation practices; and general good health practices such as getting exercise and sleep are all good precautions but must be used together to get stronger protection.
    “But now we have a vaccine,” Hall said. “It comes as our last line and gives us an edge on the virus.”
    She also spoke to ease some people’s fears about the vaccine.
    A lot of people have been concerned about the side effects of the vaccine and Hall explained the known one and why it happens.
    “What it means is your body is amounting a strong immune response to the vaccine which is preparing your body to use it natural resources to fight the COVID virus if it is subsequently exposed,” Hall said.

    The panel also took questions from viewers.
    Flesch replied to one viewer who asked how long it took to Soldiers to get to their next assignment saying the process has improved.
    “Early on, we had to work through a lot of different things to ensure transportation was safe,” Flesch said. Roughly 90% of the Soldiers move on to their Advanced Individual Training locations the day after graduation, but sometimes it takes a couple more days especially if the location is far away, remote or where only a few Soldiers are going.
    “The very next day or two, they should be able to call home just like they did in basic training,” he added.
    Again the question came in about when families could attend Family day and graduation in person. Beagle explained the team has been looking to when we can resume in person Family day and graduation and have war-gamed a few ideas such as having one or two people attend for each soldier. “We don’t want to break families or disconnect families; it sounds easy but we want to do it safely and right.” We will continue to look for ways to get back to normal just we have from the beginning, he said.
    Beagle also reminded the audience that the Fort Jackson app will migrate to the new Digital Garrison app in March. The new app will allow Families to follow their Soldier as they move from one installation to another since it is used Army-wide.
    In closing, he explained that safety is paramount whether people are working or at on post retail establishments.
    “Our entire team is focused on the prevention of COVID, not just for the trainees but also for the workforce. If we don’t have the workforce, we don’t have any training,” Beagle said. “Everyone is involved in getting this right.”



    Date Taken: 02.23.2021
    Date Posted: 02.23.2021 09:33
    Story ID: 389601
    Location: COLUMBIA, SC, US 

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