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Fort Carson soldiers get tested for COVID ahead of training assignment

A Fort Carson soldier gets tested for COVID-19 at Evans Army Community Hospital on July 28, 2020.  All soldiers must undergo testing before they can deploy.
A Fort Carson soldier gets tested for COVID-19 at Evans Army Community Hospital on July 28, 2020. All soldiers must undergo testing before they can deploy.(KKTV)
Published: Jul. 30, 2020 at 7:48 AM MDT
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FORT CARSON, Colo. (KKTV) - Soldiers leaving for training now have a couple of new steps to cross off their list.

Thousands of Fort Carson troops were tested for the coronavirus Wednesday ahead of their deployment to California next month. They are also undergoing quarantine before and after testing.

It’s all par for the course in a pandemic year, which has seen mask-wearing and other behavior become part of our everyday norm.

“We’re preparing for a deployment to Fort Irwin, California to the National Training Center. This is a critical event for our 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team to demonstrate our ability. ... We understand, however, that there is always risk involved in doing anything within a pandemic environment. And, of course, we’re never going to be able to get rid of all that risk. However, our potential enemies really do not take time off. They don’t say that there’s a pandemic and so we cannot go fight today,” said Dr. Jason Dailey, a lieutenant colonel snd division surgeon for the 4th Infantry Division.

Fort Carson walked 11 News reporter Megan Hiler through their mitigation process before sending thousands of troops out of state.

“When we start off, the first thing is that it’s 96 hours of quarantine, or the four days of quarantine,” said Maj. Gregory Rueth, officer in charge of the mission, as he explained each step to Hiler. “That is to help kind of minimize the risk of exposure. If someone does pop positive, that they’ve not been around other individuals. When they come in here, the first thing that we do is we have them check in with our unit to basically validate that they are in fact moving on the date that they were originally projected and that they’re on the manifest for testing.”

The soldiers also have to fill out a trace form so that if they test positive, the military knows who else they’ve been in contact with.

It’s only when the test comes back negative that the soldier can get on a bus to head out and train. Those results will take about 24 hours, and the soldier will go back into quarantine until then.

Fort Irwin, where NTC is located, is in the middle of the Mojave Desert. Officials say soldiers will not have any contact with the local community.

Copyright 2020 KKTV. All rights reserved.

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