FORT DRUM, N.Y. (WWNY) - Fort Drum stands at “Bravo” status for COVID-19, which means the post is at a fairly low risk, and Army officials say Fort Drum’s plan to handle COVID-19 cases is aggressive.
Rumors have been circulating that the military post has been hiding cases by not reporting them to Jefferson County Public Health, but officials deny that notion.
“No, all of our cases are at Public Health,” says Brigadier General Brett Funck, the acting senior commander of the 10th Mountain Division.
General Funck says he wants the military and civilian communities to know that when it comes to COVID-19, Fort Drum is transparent, reporting its cases to county Public Health, and the installation has a strict policy that protects everyone, on post and off.
Part of that policy includes using the barracks buildings for isolating new soldiers coming to post, soldiers coming back from training, and soldiers returning from deployment.
“Some of the steps we put in place, we put in early, and I think that’s why we’ve seen some of the low numbers,” Funck said.
But Fort Drum isn’t immune to COVID-19. General Funck says there are around 12 active cases now, which could include a soldier, a dependent, or one of the thousands of civilian workers.
Funck says Fort Drum’s aggressive approach is for two reasons: one is because the military and civilian communities mix together often in the north country; two-thirds of the military population live off-post, and soldiers and their families use community schools and hospitals. The second reason is that the 10th Mountain Division is one of the most deployed divisions in the U.S. Army, and Funck says the division needs to be ready if called upon.
“We always have to be ready for what’s going to be there. So we’ve recognized that, based on our training and readiness levels, we’ve got to be ready to go do things therefore we’ve got to protect the mission.”
As for a total number of cases of COVID-19 on post, it’s not information the Department of Defense will allow Fort Drum to release.