Fort Bragg health officials prepared for potential coronavirus cases

FORT BRAGG, N.C. (WTVD) -- Womack Army Medical Center officials are on alert as more cases of the novel coronavirus develop in North Carolina. Their mission is to protect the nation's largest installation and the transient community around it.

Fort Bragg officials said while the risk of exposure to the coronavirus outbreak is low, if the disease reaches the Sandhills, it could impact soldier readiness.

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"We are taking steps right now for units that are redeploying from other places such as Afghanistan, Kuwait, etc," said Col. Martin Doperak. "We're screening them as they come on post. We're also screening soldiers who are moving."

Upon entering the emergency room, patients are greeted by a rapid triage nurse who begins initial screening. Officials said they've tested patients on post for COVID-19, the disease associated with the novel coronavirus, and those tests came back negative.

However, isolation rooms are in place at Womack to house the infected, should any tests come back positive.

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Fort Bragg is taking a proactive stance at reducing the risk of infection. The dining facilities enforced hand hygiene by requiring soldiers to wash their hands before serving themselves.

"That could include working from home and potentially canceling meetings, which some units have already done especially if they've had people coming from high risk areas," said Doperak.

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Womack officials plan to continue actively managing the novel coronavirus by staying in contact with federal, state and local health agencies.

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