Back to Top Skip to main content

MHS prepared to support interagency coronavirus response

Airmen assist one another in donning their personal protective equipment, while on-board an Air Force C-17 Globemaster III during transportation isolation system training at Joint Base Charleston, South Carolina. Engineered and implemented after the Ebola virus outbreak in 2014, the TIS is an enclosure the Department of Defense can use to safely transport patients with diseases like novel coronavirus. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Cody R. Miller) Airmen assist one another in donning their personal protective equipment, while on-board an Air Force C-17 Globemaster III during transportation isolation system training at Joint Base Charleston, South Carolina. Engineered and implemented after the Ebola virus outbreak in 2014, the TIS is an enclosure the Department of Defense can use to safely transport patients with diseases like novel coronavirus. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Cody R. Miller)

Recommended Content:

Global Health Engagement | Public Health | Coronavirus | Coronavirus

The novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) now affects more than 28 countries, with more than 28,000 cases worldwide. The Military Health System and Defense Health Agency remain prepared to support combatant commanders to protect our service members, other Department of Defense personnel, and their families in the United States and around the globe.

U.S. Army Col. (Dr.) Jennifer Kishimori, director, Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear Medical Countermeasures Policy, Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs, recently briefed a U.S. Government interagency panel and health industry stakeholders on MHS actions and responsibilities. Foremost, Kishimori explained the DoD follows the guidance of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as the U.S. government medical lead.

“DoD is in support of the interagency for preparedness and response efforts against the novel coronavirus outbreak,” Kishimori said. “This is a new virus. Information is emerging and changing daily. Our Military Health System, which comprises the medical assets within the DoD, works to keep pace with CDC and interagency guidance in this fluid situation.”

Earlier, Acting Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness Matthew P. Donovan released a guidance letter for force health protection specifically relating to the novel coronavirus. In it, Donovan stated that DoD will follow CDC guidance and provide specific instructions for DoD personnel and military health care professionals. While DoD personnel are not specifically at risk of exposure to the 2019-nCoV, the fact that DoD personnel and their families travel internationally and throughout the U.S. means they should take additional precautions to avoid risk.

Kishimori further explained DoD, through DHA, is distributing CDC-based guidance to health care providers and military families at all military treatment facilities. “Though our executing organizations such as the Defense Health Agency, we are working to communicate current CDC guidance for public health, hospital preparedness, patient evaluation, infection control, laboratory testing and health risk communication, in coordination with the Joint Staff.”

Specifically, DHA’s Medical Affairs directorate released information for health care providers to ensure any patient with a risk of infection receives the proper care and testing and that public health authorities are notified of all cases.

Kishimori outlined MHS’ unique capabilities to monitor and respond to 2019-nCoV for both surveillance and research and development.

  • The Center for Laboratory Medicine Services and the Executive Secretariat, DoD Laboratory Network synchronizes laboratory capability across the MHS and works with interagency partners to ensure supported network laboratories have the necessary detection and characterization capabilities in place to support 2019-nCoV-related activities across the globe.
  • DHA Armed Forces Health Surveillance Division and Global Emerging Infections Surveillance monitor daily the status of the outbreak.
  • Naval Medical Research Unit-2 in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, continues increased surveillance for the coronavirus at the China border.
  • The Armed Forces Research Institute of Medical Sciences in Thailand is also in a forward position to identify and characterize virus isolates.

The MHS also has a robust research capability with specific expertise in coronaviruses. Kishimori explained that the DoD has scientists and clinicians with experience in rapidly executing pre-clinical studies and virus vaccine clinical trials with infectious disease clinicians through DoD laboratories.

The CDC recommends simple measures to protect yourself from illness:

  • Avoid close contact with sick people.
  • While sick, limit contact with others as much as possible.
  • Stay home if you are sick.
  • Cover your nose and mouth when you cough or sneeze. Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Germs spread this way.
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with germs.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub with at least 60 percent alcohol.

“Force Health Protection is our top priority in Health Affairs and the Department of Defense,” Kishimori explained. “The MHS continues to coordinate with DoD partners and the interagency to optimize preparedness and response efforts against the nCoV.”

You also may be interested in...

NMRTU Everett Hospitalman makes a difference

Article
11/24/2020
Technician wearing a mask, giving a shot to a soldier

For much of 2020, Scott has also done her share and more to help stop the spread of COVID-19.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Public Health

Army conducts commercial aircraft decontamination efficacy test

Article
11/24/2020
Man wearing mask, looking at ceiling of an airplane

Two commercial sprayers and two commercial liquid disinfectants will be tried in different combinations on surfaces in the passenger area to gauge effectiveness.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus

Air Force doctor retires after 48 years of service

Article
11/20/2020
Uniformed officer standing next to an Air Force seal, wearing a stethoscope around his shoulders

In his civilian career, Thomas maintains a private practice as an anesthesiologist in Fairbanks, Alaska.

Recommended Content:

Public Health | Health Readiness

Navy PA continues to care for COVID-19 caregivers

Article
11/19/2020
Three soldiers, wearing masks, demonstrating a hearing test

As a PAt, Osborn works hand-in-hand with supervising physicians and surgeons.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus

NICoE & ISC Network maintain TBI care during COVID-19

Article
11/19/2020
Image of United States map with locations noted

The Network leveraged their geographic distribution to help each other quickly adapt to changing times.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Traumatic Brain Injury

San Antonio volunteers sought for Warp Speed vaccine trials

Article
11/18/2020
Woman typing on laptop

DOD sites are open on a voluntary basis to Military Health System beneficiaries.

Recommended Content:

COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts | Coronavirus

Army combat medic earns U.S. citizenship, plans to continue serving

Article
11/18/2020
Two men wearing masks, one in a car, one leaning in the car

The native of Brazil is part of the COVID-19 testing team.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus

Army doctors provide COVID-19 safety tips for the holiday season

Article
11/17/2020
Soldiers wearing masks, looking at flight information in airport

Celebrating the holidays during a pandemic may bring additional challenges for people this year.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | November Toolkit | November Holidays and Observances

Military Health System participating in COVID-19 vaccine trial

Article
11/17/2020
Woman measuring out a vaccine into a needle

How you can help test the vaccine.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts

DHA leaders recognize CCP collection campaign contributors & donors

Article
11/16/2020
Three military personnel in uniform, wearing masks, in front of flags

The ceremony honored those who contributed to exceeding the goal of collecting 10,000 units of COVID-19 convalescent plasma.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Convalescent Plasma Collection Program

NMRTU Everett staff collaborate to ensure Patient Centered Care

Article
11/16/2020
Image of two military personnel wearing masks

NMRTU Everett was commended by the MHS 2020 Advancement towards High Reliability Healthcare Awards Program as a Patient Centeredness Award winner.

Recommended Content:

Combat Support | Public Health | Coronavirus

Holiday Season Guidance to Minimize Spread of the Coronavirus Disease 2019

Publication
11/16/2020

This memorandum provides guidance to help protect individuals within the DoD community from coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) for gatherings and activities during the November to January holiday season.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus

Naval Medical Forces Pacific’s commander tours NH Twentynine Palms

Article
11/12/2020
Four military personnel in uniform, wearing masks

Weber was briefed on the implementation of MHS GENESIS...and the hospital's response to COVID-19.

Recommended Content:

Combat Support | Health Readiness | Coronavirus | MHS GENESIS

Forging of civil-military anvil against COVID-19 focus at GHSA

Article
11/9/2020
U.S. and Thai soldiers stand together during a medical exercise.

“Defense partnerships around the world are key.”

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Global Health Engagement | Health Readiness | Global Health Engagement

Wave PENDLETON sees more MTFs deploy new electronic health record

Article
11/5/2020
Military technician, wearing a mask, in front of a computer screen

Wave PENDLETON is the third major deployment of MHS GENESIS.

Recommended Content:

Public Health | Coronavirus | MHS GENESIS
<< < 1 2 3 4 5  ... > >> 
Showing results 1 - 15 Page 1 of 47

DHA Address: 7700 Arlington Boulevard | Suite 5101 | Falls Church, VA | 22042-5101

Some documents are presented in Portable Document Format (PDF). A PDF reader is required for viewing. Download a PDF Reader or learn more about PDFs.