Major General gives update after 142 basic trainees test positive for COVID-19 at Fort Benning

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FORT BENNING, Ga. (WRBL) – Monday afternoon, Fort Benning’s Commanding General of the Maneuver Center of Excellence, Major General Gary Brito gave an update on Facebook on efforts to contain and treat an outbreak of COVID-19 after 142 basic trainees test positive for the virus on post.

Brito says the first positive test led to the testing of 640 soldiers in the 30th AG Reception Battalion and Echo Company 229 Infantry.

Following the testing, Fort Benning officials were able to determine who needed to be quarantined due to possible exposure and who needed to be isolated due to a positive test.

Brito says those who were exposed to COVID-19 are being kept in separate lodging from those who tested positive for the virus.

Each soldier in isolation and quarantine has a bed, meals, water, latrine, and officials have pushed out entertainment packages from the USO, according to Brito.

Brito says they also have access to their cell phones and will be able to get in contact with family and loved ones during isolation and quarantine periods.

All affected personnel are receiving medical checks and “can only be cleared to return to training by medical professionals no earlier than 14 days and after a second test shows a negative results,” says Brito.

Most of those who tested positive are showing mild symptoms of the virus, according to Brito; so far no one has needed to be hospitalized for treatment.

Brito credits the immediate actions of medical personnel, drill sergeants, and cadre along with the procedures and processes in place for preventing further spread of the virus among the training population.

Moving forward, Brito says Fort Benning will continue to screen, monitor, and test in accordance with CDC guidelines.

The priority is protecting the health of force while continuing to train soldiers at Fort Benning.

Since mid-March, Brito says Fort Benning has trained about 11,000 personnel, of those 7,900 have graduated and moved on to their first assignments or will do so shortly.

Fort Benning is expecting about 1,000 new soldiers soon. Brito says each of the new soldiers will be greeted, screened, tested, and monitored for at least 14 days and tested again before they can begin training.

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