Fort Hood leaders discuss plans related to COVID-19

FORT HOOD, Texas (KWTX) Three Corps and Fort Hood leaders held a virtual town hall Thursday to give an update on the Coronavirus situation on post.

III Corps and Fort Hood leaders address the community via a Facebook Live town hall. (Photo: Brandy Cruz, Fort Hood)

"Is it safe for our soldiers to come to work? Yes. I think with the scares of the coronavirus we need to keep some sort of normalcy with what is going on."

The Facebook town hall featured Maj. Gen. Scott Efflandt, deputy commanding general of III Corps and Fort Hood, Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center Commander Col. Richard Malish; Col. Jason Wesbrock, Garrison commander and Maj. Adam Nash, Task Force Phantom senior enlisted advisor.

"We must slow the spread of the virus. The more rapid the virus spreads, the more people will get killed," said Malish.

Some of the changes include a COVID-19 ward and clinic at Carl R. Darnall Hospital. Virtual options are also available. By the end of next week, a drive-thru screening process should also be up for military beneficiaries.

"The scenario we are working to avoid is that they're so many sick patients that they outpace our ability to manage them. We must work to not to have a spike in COVID case. We must work to flatten that spike, to flatten that cure."

A question was asked during the live stream of what would happen to on-post residents if Fort Hood was locked down.

“I don’t foresee the post getting locked down,” Efflandt said in a press release. "That’s a category of response that would not be appropriate for the infectious disease we’re facing now, but what you would likely see, if we get an exponential increase in the outbreak of the disease is a reduction of services on the garrison, up to and including minimum personnel only. "

Officials also mentioned soldiers returning from their European rotation would likely be quarantined.

"If the rules we have today to control the spread remain in effect, then the answer is yes...those soldiers will go into quarantine."

Fort Hood is also making changes to enforce social distancing. Beginning Friday, automated ID scanners have been implemented at all entrance gates.

A 24/7 hotline is available for military beneficiaries who may have symptoms related to COVID-19. The number is 254-553-6612.