Army starts to screen re­cruits for coro­n­avirus

The Kansas City Star - - Local - BY TARA COPP [email protected]­

New Army re­cruits ar­riv­ing at ba­sic train­ing sites will now be screened for po­ten­tial coro­n­avirus ex­po­sure start­ing on Tues­day, the top gen­eral in charge of Army train­ing said.

Gen. Paul Funk II, com­mand­ing gen­eral of the Army’s Train­ing and Doc­trine Com­mand, said the Army ran re­hearsals to screen for the virus on Mon­day at its four ba­sic train­ing bases – Fort Ben­ning in Colum­bus, Ga., Fort Jack­son in Columbia, S.C., Fort Leonard Wood in Mis­souri, and Fort Sill in Law­ton, Okla.

Dur­ing the re­hearsals they sim­u­lated the ar­rival of buses of new re­cruits, some with symp­toms, some not, to train screen­ers on what to look for. The four train­ing bases be­gan the ac­tual new screen­ing pro­ce­dure on Tues­day.

“We started re­ceiv­ing peo­ple this morn­ing,” Funk said. In the past, buses of new re­cruits were brought di­rectly onto the base. Now they are taken to a re­cep­tion area to be screened be­fore they join the gen­eral mil­i­tary pop­u­la­tion, he said.

The re­cruits will be ob­served for any symp­toms, have their tem­per­a­ture taken, and be asked a se­ries of ques­tions.

About 1,000 new Army ac­tive duty, re­serve and Na­tional Guard re­cruits be­gin their train­ing at the four bases each week, for a to­tal of about 100,000 new sol­diers each year, Funk said.

Dur­ing the screen­ing, each re­cruit will be asked “has any­one liv­ing with you trav­eled through China, Korea, Ja­pan, Iran or Italy?” They will also be asked whether they had con­tact with in­di­vid­u­als who have tested pos­i­tive for the virus, said train­ing com­mand spokesman Col. Richard McNor­ton.

“Then they are asked if they have or are ob­served to have the fol­low­ing symp­toms – cough, sore throat, di­ar­rhea, short­ness of breath, mus­cle aches or fa­tigue,” McNor­ton said.

“If all that’s a ‘No,’ then their tem­per­a­ture is taken,” McNor­ton said. “If it’s be­low 99.4 they are good to go. If they an­swer ‘Yes’ to those ques­tions or if their tem­per­a­ture is above 99.5 then you di­rect the re­cruit – they are ac­tu­ally sep­a­rated,” he said. “Bat­tal­ion med­i­cal per­son­nel removes them from the train­ing cue.”

The bases have ad­e­quate test­ing kits in hand to test for coro­n­avirus. If re­cruits test pos­i­tive, they will be treated by the Army’s med­i­cal sys­tem, Funk said.

The Navy and Air Force did not have an im­me­di­ate re­sponse on whether sim­i­lar new screen­ing pro­ce­dures were be­ing im­ple­mented at their bases.

MAJ. MICHELLE LUNATO 98th Train­ing Di­vi­sion – Ini­tial En­try Train­ing

In this photo taken in Novem­ber, a drill sergeant at Fort Jack­son, S.C., watches over ba­sic com­bat train­ing re­cruits as they prac­tice for the Army Com­bat Fit­ness Test.

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