Training in a pandemic, thousands of Fort Carson soldiers test for COVID-19

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FORT CARSON — More than 4,000 Fort Carson soldiers will be tested for coronavirus over the next few weeks.

“Our potential enemies really do not take time off. They don’t say that there’s a pandemic, so we cannot go fight today,” said LTC Jason Dailey, Division Surgeon for the 4th Infantry Division at Fort Carson. 

It’s a critical first step for the 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team as they prepare for their upcoming deployment to the national training center at Fort Irwin, California. 

“Obviously, the pandemic brings new challenges to everyone. I think all of us are working our way through each of those challenges as they arise,” said MAJ Gregory S. Rueth, CSTC chief at Fort Carson.

According to Fort Carson officials, soldiers will follow strict guidelines in order to minimize the risk of coronavirus as they train.

“Our biggest concern realistically is if anybody were to bring COVID with them as they go out to training. Because they will be training and sleeping in close living quarters,” Dailey said. 

Those guidelines include four days of quarantine before testing and three days of quarantine afterward.

Staff including trainers and bus drivers who will be deploying with the unit will also get tested. 

“The truth is that our infantry cannot fight virtually. This is a contact sport. The enemy is not impressed by PowerPoint slides or our video teleconferencing ability. So, we must demonstrate if we are able to go out there, and hopefully give potential adversaries a moment of pause when they see what we can do in spite of a pandemic, in spite of whatever challenges we may face,” Dailey said. 

Fort Carson officials says soldiers will get test results back in 24 to 48 hours. 

Anyone who tests positive for coronavirus will be taken out of the training rotation. 

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