Scott Gibson | Combined Arms Center Public Affairs
It’s been sixth months since the first COVID-19 case in the United States was identified, and Fort Leavenworth officials are warning against the latest threat in the battle against the virus — complacency.
“Much like a combat zone, becoming complacent in a pandemic could have catastrophic implications,” said Col. Matthew Fandre, command surgeon for the Combined Arms Center.
Despite a steady stream of reporting on this issue in the media, COVID-19 cases continue to rise dramatically to some of the highest levels since the pandemic began. Some of this is because of a population that is becoming “COVID complacent” and easing back into pre-virus habits.
“There is a reason why Fort Leavenworth is still at (Health Protection Condition) Charlie and we have never gone below that,” said CAC Chief of Staff Col. Thomas Bolen. “We have not loosened our standards, and the expectation is that those who live and work here don’t relax their standards either.”
According to Fandre, it is important that everyone remain committed to the health of those around us.
“The most important things to do is to maintain your social distance, wear a mask when you can’t maintain social distance, and wash your hands/sanitize your work area,” he said. “If you are feeling ill, stay home.”
Another area of concern to Fort Leavenworth leaders is ensuring that everyone understands the difference between quarantine and isolation and when it is appropriate to do each.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, quarantine lasts for the incubation period for the disease, after which officials can be certain that an individual is not infected. Isolation lasts for the period of time in which a disease is considered infectious.
“If you have been exposed, or believe you have been exposed, self-quarantine yourself for 14 days,” Fandre said. “This means you do not come to work and only do essential activities — like groceries, gas, and medical care — and if you need to do those things, wear a mask.”
Getting a COVID test does not release someone from a required quarantine period, Fandre said. After exposure, someone can become positive at any point over the next 14 days, so there is no way to “test out” of quarantine.
“If you develop symptoms during quarantine after being exposed, call Munson Army Heath Center at (913) 684-6250 to talk with the team to determine if you need to be tested,” Fandre said.
Anyone who tests positive for COVID-19 should begin a 10-day isolation period.
“If tested, while awaiting your test results, you will isolate yourself,” Fandre said.
“This means you are restricted from all activities other than necessary medical care and you need to remain isolated by yourself and if you live with other people, this means isolating to one room away from everyone else,” Fandre said. “The only way we control this disease is by adhering to these guidelines. This protects you and everyone else.”