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70 Fort Leonard Wood soldiers test positive for coronavirus

At Fort Leonard Wood, 70 soldiers and trainees have tested positive for COVID-19.

The cases were confirmed and discovered after a two-day testing spree was conducted on about 500 individuals assigned to the 1st Battalion, 48th Infantry Regiment, the U.S. Army training installation said in a press release. The affected people have been “isolated or quarantined as appropriate and in accordance” with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines.

“Due to the aggressive mitigation strategies in place, the number of infected and exposed individuals has been minimized to the greatest extent possible, and contained within one training unit,” the release said. 

According to the release, the soldiers and trainees were initially medically screened and tested by General Leonard Wood Army Community Hospital workers upon arrival. At the time, all tests were negative. 

However, four days after the completion of a “14-day controlled monitoring phase of basic combat training,” one trainee began to experience symptoms. Everyone was tested again, and the positive cases were discovered. 

The installation, just south of St. Robert, disclosed a soldier who had traveled to New York and Florida tested positive for coronavirus upon his return in late March. The soldier had immediately been screened upon returning to Fort Leonard Wood and placed in isolation. 

“Contact tracing continues to be performed and aggressive measures are continuing to be used to ensure that further spread of COVID-19 is minimized,” the news release said. “Fort Leonard Wood continues the strict enforcement of social distancing and the wearing of cloth face coverings to mitigate the spread of the virus.” 

“Our people — military, civilians, and families — and their health, welfare, and safety are our highest priority. We continue to assess, refine, and coordinate prevention and response efforts on post and in the local area to ensure the well-being of our personnel and local population. Fort Leonard Wood leadership remain in close coordination with local and state public health authorities and have assessed that the local communities are not at an increased risk.” 

Fort Leonard Wood, home to the U.S. Army Maneuver Support Center of Excellence and three Army schools, trains more than 80,000 military and civilians each year, according to its website. 

As of Monday, more than 13,300 people have tested positive for COVID-19 in Missouri and nearly 800 have died. 

EDITOR’S NOTE: For up-to-date information on coronavirus, check with the CDC and DHSS.