US Army continues Covid-19 testing for new recruits

20 April 2020 (Last Updated April 20th, 2020 16:23)

The US Army has ramped up the testing capabilities for the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic for new recruits in particular across its training posts in the country.

US Army continues Covid-19 testing for new recruits
The US Army has ramped up the testing capabilities for the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic across its training posts in the country. Credit: US Army Photo by Spc. Nathan Hammack.

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The US Army has ramped up the testing capabilities for the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic for new recruits in particular across its training posts in the country.

As part of this, new machines have been installed that can conduct about 700 tests every day for the virus.

The machines have been installed in one of the largest training posts of the army in Fort Jackson, South Carolina.

US Army Chief of Staff General James McConville said: “We have not stopped training. During the training, they were six feet apart and they were either wearing masks or gaiters when they got closer. So we’re going to see this type of training continue to happen.”

Recruits reporting to respective training posts are screened in a safe environment to minimise the risk of exposure to other soldiers during training.

Movement of new recruits was also halted for two weeks to basic combat training posts in an effort to curb the spread of the virus.

This allowed training posts to build testing capabilities and conduct basic training. Advanced individual training courses in a limited capacity were also conducted. The exercises were executed as per standard guidelines released.

Previously, the army had nine medical centres with a large testing capacity. Later, it has been expanded to 35 installations which conduct the tests locally.

In case of an increase in the number of cases, the army can transport the testing capabilities or utilise local or state testing sites as per the requirements.

The Department of Defence (DoD) plans to use serologic testing on soldiers who are asymptomatic with the virus. The test assesses a patient’s blood for the presence of Covid-19 antibodies.

Soldiers and trainees with symptoms of Covid-19 have been isolated to a separate facility at Fort Jackson.

The medical research community of the US Army continues to work on the development of a vaccine. Currently, experiments are being conducted on the vaccine prototypes in small animals before being tested in humans this summer.

McCarthy added: “The army is fighting the virus on multiple fronts. From medical support efforts in our cities to searching for a vaccine in order to stay ready, so we can continue to be the army the nation deserves.”