by Lt. Gen. James E. Rainey, commanding general, U.S. Army Combined Arms Center and Fort Leavenworth

Thanks to your efforts, we have been doing well protecting the force through this very challenging time.

Holiday leave is an important opportunity for everyone, and I encourage you to take full advantage for you and your Family. While I consider leave a combat multiplier, I also remind you that this year is significantly different. Everything that we do must be informed by the risk of COVID-19.

Continued focus on protecting our soldiers, civilians and their families is paramount during this difficult time, and we need your commitment to minimize the spread of this deadly disease. Complacency with COVID is just as dangerous as complacency on the battlefield, except in this situation, we are not only risking ourselves, but our families and friends as well.

Community spread of the virus has pushed the region surrounding Fort Leavenworth to a level of cases we have not seen since the beginning of the crisis. Area hospitals are near capacity, and the number of infections continue to increase every day.

Due to this situation, I have made the decision to implement additional COVID control measures to slow the spread of the virus, including increased telework, a lower limit on gathering sizes, virtual instruction, and a renewed focus on sanitation efforts at our high occupancy facilities like the Post Exchange and Commissary. I understand these measures will be inconvenient, but they are vital to our safety, and it is imperative that we follow them.

We have all been given the tools to do our part to slow this virus. The three Ws — wear a mask, watch your distance and wash your hands — have never been more important. If you feel sick, stay at home. If you have been diagnosed with COVID, isolate from the population. If you have been exposed, quarantine. Remember that there is no way to “test out” of quarantine. After exposure, someone can become positive at any point during the next 14 days.

Ensuring the safety of our force is leader business, and I expect all of you to consider it your personal responsibility. If you see someone acting irresponsibly, take action to correct it.

We all need to do our part if we are going to celebrate the holidays safely. Do everything within your power to mitigate your exposure and to keep your loved ones, and everyone around us, safe.

Every member of this team is critical to our mission and important to our success.

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