Womack Army Medical Center screening visitors for coronavirus

Cumberland County News

FORT BRAGG, N.C. (WNCN) — Coronavirus screening is now happening at Womack Army Medical Center.

“The risk to exposure is low, but we have plans in case,” said Col. John Melton, Womack Army Medical Center Commander.

Officials say the risk remains low and so far no one has tested positive for the virus in Cumberland County, but they’re taking precautions and planning ahead.

Womack Army Medical nurses are screening people who come in, asking their travel history and if they have any flu-like symptoms.

“We are using that to determine if we need to continue on with any further respiratory testing, which would then lead us to decide if we had a potential person of interest that we needed to follow up further with that,” said Diane Bunch, Chief Nurse of Emergency Medicine.

They have isolation rooms ready to go if they’re needed.

All of these steps are part of the planning process in case the virus comes here.

“In no way, does our planning indicate a greater likelihood of an event developing,” Col. Melton said.

Special precautions are also being taken for soldiers and their families coming here from out of town, and soldiers just getting back from deployments are also being screened.

“We are still meeting each individual flight and screening each individual flight as it comes back, looking to see if there’s anybody on the flight who potentially came in contact with somebody, or if somebody on that flight was at a high-risk area within the last 14 days,” said Col. Martin Doperak.

Health officials remind people to learn the facts about the virus and protect yourself, but also don’t live in fear.

“We are learning more and more about this, so I think as people become more informed and can take precautions to protect themselves, I think that fear and uncertainty should go away,” said Maj. Aaron Farmer, Chief of Infectious Disease Service.

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