COVID-19 cases in the Fort Bragg hinterland are declining, according to information presented at a Fort Bragg community exchange meeting on Wednesday.
Landed within about a 40 mile radius of Womack Army Medical Center.
Fort Bragg’s first positive COVID-19 case was a civilian military unit and reported on March 17, 2020.
The Ministry of Defense is release of COVID-19 numbers for all military branches but has unreleased numbers from individual installations since the end of March 2020, referring to “reliability” and saying that positive cases are shared with local health departments.
Lieutenant Colonel Teresa Pearce, Fort Bragg’s health director, on Wednesday presented graphs comparing Fort Bragg’s cases since 2020.
According to the data, the cases rose to almost 700 in early and mid-January this year with the delta and omicron variants of the virus before falling to about 200 cases on 25 January and leveling off on 1 February.
“Even though we had these very significant case numbers as a result of the omicron variant this year … we actually see that our case frequency has dropped to rates that are lower than what we saw at the same time last year,” Pearce said.
By February 14, there were about 39 cases per. 100,000 people within a seven-day period, she said.
The data showed that there were about 30 cases on 22 February and dropped to zero on 5 March.
Last year, there were about 40 cases per. 100,000 people in May and June, Pearce said.
Pearce said Fort Bragg follows the guidelines of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which evaluates community transmission levels to make masks optional.
According to the CDC, masking guidelines are based on vaccination rates, treatment options and the impact of the disease on the health system
Under the CDC guidelines, a community has low levels of COVID-19 if it had fewer than 200 new cases of the disease during the previous week, fewer than 10 admissions of COVID-19 patients to the hospital per year. 100,000 inhabitants and an average of less than 10% of hospital beds are used by COVID-19 patients.
From Wednesday it is The CDC classified the counties bordering Fort Bragg – Cumberland, Harnett, Hoke and Moore – which have low levels of COVID-19.
Pearce said guidance on community transfer is not being used as a measure of health facilities, with the ministry and defense and the CDC recommending that health facilities monitor the number of cases and the percentage of positive tests.
Pearce said both community surveys that evaluate hospitalization rates over a seven-day period and those measurements that apply to health facilities show that Fort Bragg is at a low COVID-19 level.
As of February, Fort Bragg has operated below a health protection level of Bravo, meaning the virus is a moderate threat based on commanders and health officials assessing risk levels at the post office and surrounding communities.
Colonel Scott Pence, Fort Bragg’s garrison commander, said indoor facilities like the Iron Mike Conference Center still have rules prohibiting the gathering of more than 50 people at a time.
Pence said he hopes to return to “pre-pandemic community events” soon.
He reiterated Pearce’s remarks that the DOD makes masks optional on installations based on COVID-19 community levels and hospitalizations, and he thanked the residents of Cumberland, Moore, Lee, Hoke and Harnett counties for helping make this possible.
Pence said officials are also considering lowering Fort Bragg’s health protection level if cases remain low.
“We see a light at the end of the tunnel for this pandemic, and now we are returning to restoring the community services and improvements to our quality of life that we expect here at Fort Bragg,” he said.
Colonel Hugh McLean, deputy commander of operations for Womack Army Medical Center, described the low levels as “winning the war” against COVID-19.
He urged Fort Bragg soldiers and families to be vaccinated if they have not already done so.
COVID-19 vaccines are given to children aged 5-11 years appointment from 8:30 a.m. to 2:45 p.m. Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays at the Joel Health Clinic.
• COVID-19 vaccines are delivered to 12-year-olds and older from kl. 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays at Robinson Health Clinic.
The Moderna vaccine is available to all eligible recipients aged 18 and over
from kl. 9.00 for dinner and at 13:00 to 3pm Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays at Clark Health Clinic on a walk-in basis.
COVID-19 vaccine booster shots are approved for children ages 12-15.
A drive-thru COVID-19 test site is available to all family members and retirees from 6 p.m. 06:00 to 18:00 Mondays and Tuesdays and at 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesday through Friday near Womack Army Medical Center’s emergency room. Active service members should go to their devices to test.
Staff Writer Rachael Riley can be contacted at [email protected] or 910-486-3528.