Fort Greely has elevated its COVID-19 alert level and is taking precautions like closing the post child-care center in response to the rising numbers of area residents who’ve tested positive for coronavirus, including one who worked at the child-care center.
Fort Greely officials temporarily closed the child-development center Friday and halted programs for children and youths after an employee tested positive for coronavirus last week. Post officials said contact tracing had revealed what they called quote “numerous and direct contacts throughout the facility” where those programs are offered.
“This decision was made to ensure the health and safety of our community and the readiness of our warfighters,” post spokesperson Chris Maestas said Friday.
Maestas says concern over the health of the warfighters is what led Lt. Gen. Daniel Karber, commander of the Army Space and Missile Defense Command, Fort Greely’s higher-headquarters, to approve elevating the installation’s Health Protection Condition from HP Con Bravo to HP Con Charlie. That’s the second-highest level of alert that requires more precautions to reduce personnel’s risk of exposure to the virus.
“The change to HP Con Charlie really doesn’t affect most people, except that you’re going to end up working from home if you’re a garrison employee,” he said.
Maestas says garrison employees, who oversee operation of the post, will be required to work from home as much as possible. The HP Con Charlie directive also seeks to minimize interaction between those whose job requires them to go to work on post. It also directs the Fort Greely Dining Facility to offer only takeout service. And it reiterates the need for making an appointment to be seen at the post Medical Clinic.
“This does not mean that the installation will close,” Maestas said. “It just means that access to mission-essential partners still continues.”
That means access to Fort Greely remains limited to civilians and military personnel and others who hold a Department of Defense ID card, as well as DoD contractors and vendors, and authorized grocery-delivery workers and short-term visitors.
The number of people in the Delta Junction area testing positive for the coronavirus has increased steadily over the past few weeks. Assording to he local COVID-19 Incident Management Team, 47 cases were reported during the week ending Nov. 18. Nine more cases were reported Sunday by the state Departnent of Health and Social Services.
Post officials say if all goes well, the child-care center will reopen and Child and Youth Services programs will resume next Monday, Nov. 30.