Back to Top Skip to main content Skip to sub-navigation

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...

The COVID-19 Pandemic: How Health Care Workers are Coping

Article
9/13/2021
a nurse helping a COVID-19 patient

For health care providers, experiencing the pandemic inside a hospital has brought

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Military Health Podcasts

Increased COVID Restrictions on the Pentagon Reservation

Article
9/8/2021
Military personnel wearing a face mask

Due to the increase in COVID-19 cases and positive test cases in the National Capital Region, the Pentagon Reservation will move to Health Protection Condition Bravo Plus (Bravo+)

Recommended Content:

COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit | Coronavirus

Digital health innovation emerges during COVID-19 pandemic

Article
8/31/2021
The Defense Health Agency’s Connected Health Branch was there to support, advise and deliver new health innovations throughout the pandemic. (Graphic courtesy of DHA Connected Health)

The DHA's Connected Health Branch was there to support, advise, and deliver new health innovations throughout the pandemic.

Recommended Content:

Connected Health | Coronavirus

As Fitness Tests Resume, Troops Seek Post-COVID Exercise Routines

Article
8/31/2021
Military personnel physically training

Keeping fit during pandemic proves hard for some.

Recommended Content:

Total Body Preventive Health and Total Force Fitness | Total Force Fitness | Physical Fitness | Coronavirus

Secretary of Defense Mandates COVID-19 Vaccinations for Service Members

Article
8/26/2021
An Army medic administers the COVID-19 vaccine to another soldier.

Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III yesterday issued a memorandum directing mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations for service members.

Recommended Content:

COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit | Coronavirus | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts

DOD Intends to Mandate Pfizer Vaccine, Pentagon Official Says

Article
8/25/2021
Pentagon Press Secretary John F. Kirby holds a press briefing, at the Pentagon, Washington, D.C.

Kirby said the health of DOD's military and civilian employees, families and communities is a top priority.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts

Maintaining Mission Readiness During a Pandemic

Article
8/24/2021
Gen. Place presents at HIMSS in Las Vegas.

DHA Director Army Lt. Gen. (Dr.) Ronald Place discussed the national security implications of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Heroes Behind the Mask | Deployment Health

Reform, COVID-19 Have Been Catalysts for Change in Military Medicine

Article
8/16/2021
Dr. Terry Adirim speaking to an audience at a conference

Healthcare is about taking care of people, so no amount of change or innovation is ever sufficient if modernization does not lead to helping patients, says acting ASDHA at HIMSS21 in Las Vegas.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit | Military Health System Transformation

Don't Hesitate: Vaccinate Today for School

Article
8/13/2021
A boy gets the COVID-19 vaccine

Back to School Means Vaccine Time

Recommended Content:

COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts | Coronavirus | Immunization Healthcare | Vaccine-Preventable Diseases | Vaccine Recommendations | Children's Health | Immunizations | TRICARE Health Program

Services Will Make Call on Religious Exemptions to COVID-19 Vaccines

Article
8/13/2021
Two medical people prepare syringes with doses of the COVID-19 vaccine

"There is a religious exemption possibility for any mandatory vaccine, and there's a process that we go through to counsel the individual both from a medical and from a command perspective about using a religious exemption," Kirby said.

Recommended Content:

Public Health | Coronavirus | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts

Austin Seeks Presidential Approval for Mandatory Troop Vaccinations by Mid-September

Article
8/10/2021
Sailors receive COVID-19 vaccinations

The COVID-19 vaccine will be mandatory for service members by mid-September, Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III said in a message to the force released yesterday.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts

Top Military Medical Doctor Predicts Coronavirus Longevity

Article
8/9/2021
Army Lt. Gen. Ronald J. Place, director of Defense Health Agency, delivers remarks at a media briefing on COVID-19 at the Pentagon, April 21, 2021

I believe we will get to a place where we're not talking about COVID all the time

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts | COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit

Senior Medical Leaders Discuss COVID-19 Response

Article
8/6/2021
Army Lt. Gen. (Dr.) Ronald J. Place, director of the Defense Health Agency making remarks

The keys to tackling the emerging COVID-19 pandemic were to quickly develop a comprehensive understanding of the virus, and then put a plan in place to fight it, says DHA Director.

Recommended Content:

COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit | Coronavirus

Debunking Anti-Vaccine Myths with Scientific Facts

Article
8/5/2021
A soldier gets a shot in the arm.

Get the facts: Myths on why not to get COVID-19 vaccination debunked by science

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts

COVID-19 Vaccines: Benefits Still Outweigh the Risks

Article
7/30/2021
Military personnel getting vaccinated

Breakthrough COVID-19 Infections are extremely rare, DHA’s Place says

Recommended Content:

COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit | Coronavirus | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts
<< < 1 2 3 4 5  ... > >> 
Showing results 1 - 15 Page 1 of 27

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.