Q. What’s being done to protect JBLM service members, families, retirees and civilian employees, and to ensure JBLM facilities aren’t accidentally exposed to COVID-19 or other infectious diseases?
A. In response to the potential public health threat, Madigan Army Medical Center is coordinating with I Corps, 62nd Airlift Wing, JBLM Garrison, Army Public Health and local public health authorities for guidance and response planning. Since the first U.S. case occurred in the state of Washington, home of Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Madigan's Preventive Medicine team is taking preemptive measures including having a physician on call 24/7 for consultation for any concerns about a possible exposure.
Q. What measures are being taken in the dining halls, food courts, food trucks and other food service facilities to protect from COVID-19 exposure?
A. Madigan’s environmental health section and Public Health Activity are responsible for food safety on JBLM and continues to proactively monitor food services on the base, ensuring proper food handling and preparation methods are strictly followed. Madigan has been coordinating between various departments to ensure preparedness. It's been a priority to educate patients on what steps to take if they have symptoms.
Q. If a family member feels sick with cold or flu symptoms, what should they do?
A. Contact your healthcare provider, urgent care center or emergency room prior to arrival if you feel you have been in close contact with a suspected or known person ill with COVID-19. You can call or message your provider by way of MHS GENESIS’ patient portal which may be easier and faster than a phone call.
Q. Can Madigan test for COVID-19?
A. Yes. Madigan’s testing ability is primarily for active-duty service members; however, Madigan will coordinate and ensure all patients have the proper guidance to receive testing as promptly as possible from our local and state government partners.
Q. If a JBLM service member or family member who lives off base tests positive for COVID-19, or is exposed, where will they be isolated – at home or on base? Who will be responsible for monitoring them?
A. If a military beneficiary tests positive for COVID-19 and becomes sick with the associated symptoms, Madigan will take the precautions for the individual, family, friends and the general public that may include isolation at home or at Madigan, as necessary.
Q. If Coronavirus begins to impact JBLM, will the base issue face masks to all personnel like we’re seeing people wear overseas?
A. No. The use of masks will be for those exhibiting flu and cold symptoms. The best steps to take in order to reduce the risk of getting any viral respiratory infections such as influenza include: washing your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. We also recommend to avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands and to cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. It is also important to stay at home, away from others, if you are sick.
Q. Will large gatherings be cancelled on JBLM?
A. Not at this time; however, leaders at JBLM will continue to monitor events associated with COVID-19 and will take all prudent measures necessary to ensure the safety of our service members, civilian employees and their families, as well as all the visitors and veterans/retirees who rely on the base for key parts of their day (medical, recreation, shopping, groceries, etc.).
Q. If someone shows up at the gate with flu-like symptoms, will they be allowed on base?
A. Yes. However, to avoid spreading respiratory illness to others, if you are sick you should stay home, cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash. If you have symptoms, BEFORE seeking medical care please call your healthcare professional, especially if you have been in close contact with a person known to have COVID-19, or if you have recently returned from an area with widespread COVID-19 exposure.
Q. If service members returning from overseas have to be isolated, is there a facility on JBLM already identified where this will occur?
A. While we continually assess global operations and the hotspots where COVID-19 is present, we will continue to take all prudent measures necessary to ensure the safety of people who work and live on JBLM. If there is a need to quarantine personnel returning from deployments or trips overseas, we will house them in appropriate areas on base for the size of the formation that requires the quarantine. We will ensure we protect our service members and families, that we fully enable mission readiness, and that we support the Interagency in its whole of government approach.
Q. If Coronavirus begins to impact JBLM, will the schools on JBLM close? Will other facilities close? Will employees be authorized to telework from home?
A. As we’ve seen occur elsewhere in communities throughout the U.S., it is possible a particular facility on JBLM could be temporarily closed, if necessary. Whether employees are authorized to telework will depend on the overall situation and will depend on the mission requirements of their job to be worked, in coordination with their supervisors.
Q. If Coronavirus begins to impact JBLM, how will it impact JBLM’s six elementary schools?
A. This is a decision that Clover Park School District will make in coordination with JBLM.
Q. If the spread of Coronavirus continues, will service members and/or families continue to PCS overseas, or will moves be delayed?
A. JBLM and I Corps care deeply about the health and welfare of all its service members, civilians and family members. Although no formal guidance is published regarding PCS curtailment/delays, we will continue to meet with our I Corps' medical professionals and evaluate the risk associated with OCONUS PCS travel.
Q. If the spread of Coronavirus continues, will service members and/or families who are already overseas, but scheduled to return to the U.S. or PCS elsewhere, be delayed moving?
A. Our service members who are overseas have access to world-class medical facilities, mitigating the risk of serious complications due to COVID-19. We are not amending routine or scheduled TDY or PCS moves. We continue to closely monitor the developing situation and seek updates from our I Corps' medical professionals on ways to best mitigate risk to our traveling service members, families and civilians from COVID-19.
Q. With the international spread of Coronavirus, will the Army continue to deploy Soldiers to training exercises in Japan, Korea, etc., and if so, what precautions are being taken to protect them?
A. Hundreds of I Corps Soldiers are participating in training operations throughout the Indo-Pacific region. While training, our Soldiers have access to world-class medical professionals and equipment. A small contingent of augmenters, supporting a command post training exercise with planned travel off the Korean Peninsula, was amended to keep those Soldiers on bases in the Korean peninsula.
Q. I have a planned flight; should I cancel? If I must fly, what precautions should I take?
A. That depends on where your travel plans will take you. For the latest information regarding COVID-19, country-specific Travel Health Notice (THN) levels for COVID-19 and other information may be found at the following websites:
- Centers for Disease Control (CDC)
- Department of Defense (DOD)
- Department of State (DOS)
- Department of Homeland Security (DHS)
- Military Health Service (MHS)
Q. What's the best source for reliable COVID-19 information for service members?
A. A good source of official U.S. government information regarding COVID-19 is the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html