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    Fort Drum preventive medicine chief discusses COVID, vaccination process with Exchange staff

    Fort Drum preventive medicine chief discusses COVID, vaccination process with Exchange staff

    Courtesy Photo | Maj. Dexter Williams, Fort Drum Preventive Medicine chief, visited the Exchange on...... read more read more



    Story by Michael Strasser 

    Fort Drum Garrison Public Affairs

    FORT DRUM, N.Y. (March 2, 2021) -- As the COVID-19 vaccine rollout continues at Guthrie Ambulatory Health Clinic, Maj. Dexter Williams, Preventive Medicine chief, slipped away for an hour on Feb. 26 to visit the Fort Drum Post Exchange.

    But he wasn’t there for a haircut or to shop for sundries.

    Patricia Hastings, Exchange general manager, invited Williams to an associates meeting to talk about COVID-19 and answer questions from the frontline workers about the virus and vaccinations.

    “The questions they had ranged from how contract tracing is performed to what happens when a family member is placed on quarantine,” Williams said. “There was also a question regarding the age limit for getting the vaccine, as the concern was when the vaccine would be available to children.”

    Hastings said that associates also asked about safety protocols, why people should still avoid large gatherings and the availability of vaccines.

    “Maj. Williams highly encouraged the team to receive a vaccine if they are eligible,” Hastings said. “As frontline workers, many Exchange associates have received at least one shot.”

    It has been a year since New York reported its first positive case of COVID-19, and Fort Drum would be weeks away from announcing its first case within the workforce. Although not a pleasant anniversary to commemorate, Hastings said that the Exchange rose to the challenges presented by the pandemic and took all necessary precautions, to include reducing hours of operations, limiting the number of customers and conducting enhanced cleaning protocols throughout the store.

    “The Fort Drum team has done an incredible job during trying circumstances,” Hastings said. “Protecting the force is Exchange’s top priority during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Exchange supports preventive measures recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. We have daily meetings to remind everyone of the safety protocols and to stay home if they feel sick.”

    Williams said that there has been other requests to speak with units and organizations on post since the vaccination process began, and part of the Fort Drum Medical Activity Department mission is to inform and educate the community.

    “We appreciated Maj. Williams for embracing the opportunity to speak to the team,” Hastings said. “The Exchange is truly grateful for the continued support from garrison, and Maj. Williams’ expertise helped ease concerns.”

    Williams said that he was more than happy to share his knowledge with members of the Fort Drum workforce, and he thanked the Exchange team for providing a continuity of service to the community.

    “As a Soldier and patron of the Fort Drum Exchange, I’m truly grateful for their service and dedication to the Fort Drum community,” he said. “Since the beginning of the pandemic, they have continued to provide a safe and well-stocked environment for shopping.”

    Senior leaders across the Department of Defense are urging people to stay informed about the COVID-19 and stop the spread of misinformation regarding the virus and vaccines. Information is available at or The Fort Drum COVID-19 resource page is available at

    Fort Drum MEDDAC is scheduling vaccinations for essential frontline workers, beneficiaries who are 65 or older, and beneficiaries who are 16 to 64 and are considered at risk for severe COVID-19 due to underlying health conditions. Individuals in these groups can schedule an appointment by calling (315) 772-2778.

    For more information about the vaccination schedule at Fort Drum, visit



    Date Taken: 03.02.2021
    Date Posted: 03.02.2021 13:41
    Story ID: 390344
    Location: FORT DRUM, NY, US 

    Web Views: 199
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