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...

DHA-AI 3020-01: Return to the Workplace Staffing Plan in the Coronavirus Disease 2019 Environment

Policy

This Defense Health Agency-Administrative Instruction (DHA-AI), based on the authority of References (a) through (b) and in accordance with the guidance of References (c) through (z3), establishes the Defense Health Agency's (DHA) plan to return to full operations and support the whole-of-government response, during the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. This DHA-AI also provides a preventive plan to monitor and assess for the appearance of new cases and implement those processes that will prevent them from impacting the workforce. The processes describe herein are intended to offer an actionable plan for the workforce to re-enter DHA Administrative Offices. See Appendix 1 for a summary of the DHA Administrative Office Reopening Plan. The plan uses the Force Health Protection Guidance and Health Protection Conditions (HPCON), in accordance with Reference (d), to ensure protection for the workforce, including the most vulnerable-to-serious complications from the virus while enabling DHA Administrative Offices to continue its mission. See Appendix 2 for the conceptual HPCON framework.

  • Identification #: 3020-01
  • Date: 11/3/2020
  • Type: Administrative Instructions
  • Topics: Coronavirus

DHA AI 3020.01: Return to the Workplace Staffing Plan in the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Environment

Policy

This Defense Health Agency-Administrative Instruction (DHA-AI), establishes the Defense Health Agency’s (DHA) plan to return to full operations and support the whole-of-government response, during the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic and in preparation for regression or resurgence in COVID-19 cases that could impact the workforce.

  • Identification #: DHA AI 3020.01
  • Date: 6/12/2020
  • Type: Administrative Instructions
  • Topics: Coronavirus

DoD Instruction 2000.30: Global Health Engagement Activities

Policy

This instruction establishes policy, assigns responsibilities, and prescribes procedures for the conduct of global health engagement activities with partner nation (PN) entities.

Embedded Fragment Analyses

Policy

Clarification of the Requirement for Continuation of Semi-Annual Reporting of Results of Embedded Fragment Analyses

Influenza Surveillance Program

Policy

Sentinel Sites for the 2014-2015 Influenza Surveillance Program

Deployment Limiting Mental Disorders and Psychotrophic Medications

Policy

Policy memorandum about Deployment Limiting Mental Disorders and Psychotrophic Medications

Japanese Encephalitis (JE) virus is a mosquito-borne flavivirus and the most common vaccine-preventable cause of encephalitis in Asia

Policy

Individuals deploying to areas in Pacific Command (PACOM) should be administered the JE vaccine in accordance with the latest PACOM Force Health Protection Guidance.

Guidance on Medications for Prophylaxis of Malaria 13-002

Policy

This document provides guidance and best practices for the chemoprophylaxis (use of medication to prevent malaria) of Service members serving in malaria endemic regions.

MHS Training Directive for Medical Stability Operations

Policy

MHS Training Directive for Medical Stability Operations

Joint Pub 3-07, Stability Operations, September 29, 2011

Policy

DoD Support to Foreign Disaster Relief Handbook

Policy

DoD Support to Foreign Disaster Relief Handbook

Access to Medical Services Who were Exposed to Rabies in Combat Theater

Policy

U.S. Navy/U.S. Marine Corps COSC Policy Update

Policy

Mental Health Assessments for Members of the Armed Forces Deployed in Connection with a Contingency Operation

Policy

Clinical Policy for the Administration of the Anthrax Vaccine Adsorbed

Policy
<< < 1 2 > >> 
Showing results 1 - 15 Page 1 of 2

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.