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Confirmed Coronavirus Case At Fort Leonard Wood Won’t Slow Down Training

Maj. Gen. Donna Martin spoke on Facebook Live about the confirmed coronavirus case at Fort Leonard Wood.
Maj. Gen. Donna Martin spoke on Facebook Live about the confirmed coronavirus case at Fort Leonard Wood.

FORT LEONARD WOOD — Maj. Gen. Donna Martin returned to Facebook on Wednesday in what was billed as a virtual town hall meeting to praise the procedures in place to keep the coronavirus in check.

The briefing came days after the first confirmed case of the virus at the installation in Missouri’s Ozarks that has tens of thousands of soldiers and civilians coming through every year.

Martin said the infected soldier was on leave in New York before the Department of Defense banned such travel. The soldier returned to base, followed protocol and reported for a medical check.

The soldier was isolated and was never a risk to the rest of the base, Martin said.

“Our processes and protocols worked well and as designed. I’m happy to report that the soldier is doing well and will remain under care in isolation until recovered,” Martin said.

Martin said at the request of the Department of Defense, Fort Leonard Wood has increased its Health Protection Level from “Bravo” to “Charlie.” But that change in designation will not have an immediate effect on base operations.

Martin said some changes could be forthcoming, as soon as the end of this week, but she did not provide details.

“It will not mean the base will close. If you are a Department of Defense beneficiary, you will still have access to the installation,” Martin said.

Martin said military preparedness is essential and will continue, including bringing in new recruits for basic training. 

“Training is still happening. We are a team. And we work together through both normal operations and also during public health crises like this one,” Marin said.

Public gatherings including family day and graduations are suspended, and soldiers remain on restricted movement.

Martin did not take questions from people logged into the virtual town hall meeting as she has done in the past.

Some in virtual attendance had pointed questions that weren’t addressed.

“Explain the reasoning behind not only bringing kids from all over the country here, but why they are not following CDC’s recommendations and keeping them six feet apart in reception?” wrote Kristy Sanborn.

Martin said Fort Leonard Wood is following all Department of Defense and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention directives. There will be another update via Facebook Live on Friday, she said.

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Jonathan Ahl joined Iowa Public Radio as News Director in July 2008. He leads the news and talk show teams in field reporting, feature reporting, audio documentaries, and talk show content. With more than 17 years in public media, Jonathan is a nationally award-winning reporter that has worked at public radio stations in Macomb, Springfield and Peoria, IL. He served WCBU-FM in Peoria as news director before coming to Iowa. He also served as a part-time instructor at Bradley University teaching journalism and writing courses. Jonathan is currently serving a second term as president of PRNDI ââ
Jonathan Ahl
Jonathan Ahl reports from the Rolla Bureau for St. Louis Public Radio. His duties also include covering central and southern Missouri for Harvest Public Media. Before coming to St. Louis Public Radio in November of 2018, Jonathan was the General Manager for Tri States Public Radio in Macomb, Illinois. He previously was the News Director at Iowa Public Radio and before that at WCBU in Peoria, Illinois. Jonathan has also held reporting positions in central Illinois for public radio stations. Jonathan is originally from the Chicago area. He has a B.A. in Music Theory and Composition from Western Illinois University and an M.A. in Public Affairs Reporting from the University of Illinois at Springfield. He is an avid long distance runner, semi-professional saxophonist and die-hard Chicago Cubs fan.