Fort Sill Commanding General: "I Think We're Very Much At Risk To COVID"
Speaking to about a thousand viewers tuned into a Facebook Live stream on Tuesday, Fort Sill Commanding General Kenneth L. Kamper said that the relative flatness of the "curve" of infections on the Army post did not mean the installation was out of the woods.
"While we look flat at Fort Sill," Kamper said, "my assessment of that is we’re still dealing with small numbers. And I think we’re very much at risk to COVID, still."
According to a Fort Sill spokesperson, as of Wednesday afternoon, at least 15 people affiliated with the installation have tested positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.
Fielding questions from viewers, many of whom were soldiers' families, Kamper said he and Fort Sill leadership have implemented measures that may seem harsh, but are important for public health of those on-post.
"We looked at every other installation and crafted our [General Order] very, very carefully," Kamper said. "It’s pretty restrictive, quite frankly. We keep playing this day by day and week by week."
Among the restrictions include mandatory face-coverings in many of the installation's buildings, an overnight curfew, a prohibition on travel beyond a 60-mile radius from the post, and a move to telework wherever possible. Kamper also announced an extension of the installation's "Health and Safety Stand Down," which allows leadership to take preventative measures as needed, through April 21st.
Asked whether rock band Daughtry would still be playing a concert at the installation this summer, Kamper said that while the event is still scheduled for May, or a rain date in July, he has his doubts.
"I suspect that we'll still be in this COVID environment," Kamper said. "And I suspect we will not have a concert this summer, based on looking at the curves."
According to a statement from a spokesperson, "Fort Sill has over 100,000 personnel that operate or live in the Lawton Fort Sill community," including "7,500 permanent party personnel assigned to Fort Sill and over 34k personnel [in training] through a multitude of schools like Basic Combat Training, Advance Individual Training for both Field Artillery and Air Defense, and officer training for Field Artillery and Air Defense."