Vol. 49, No. 4, March 2020
Serving the Greater
Stuttgart Military Community
C VID-19 SPECIAL EDITION
Photo by Pfc. Logan Ludwig, AFN Stuttgart Staff Sgt. Christopher Castillo swabs the nose of a patient visiting the COVID-19 care station, a drive-up operation at Patch Barracks. Castillo is assigned to the Stuttgart Army Health Clinic as a medic, directly assessing and testing patients. Hundreds of people in the Stuttgart military community were sampled for COVID-19 during the station’s first weekend. Swabs are sent to Landstuhl Regional Medical Center for testing. To read more about the current testing at U.S. Army Garrison Stuttgart, turn to page 3.
how we got here …
Tables and chairs normally fill the Exchange food court at the Panzer Kaserne. Community members at U.S. Army Garrison Stuttgart now can only stop in for takeout from fast food restuarants, just one of the many changes brought on because of the COVID-19 outbreak reaching Germany.
Story and photo by Rick Scavetta Managing Editor When we look back at how the coronavirus affected U.S. Army Garrison Stuttgart, some weeks or months from now, March 12 is a benchmark we’ll recall. That was the day the first German from Baden-Württemberg died from the disease. Within 24 hours, a person within the Stuttgart military community tested positive. Everything began to change. “That was when we realized that the virus was ahead of us, and we had to implement immediate precautions,” said Col. Jason Condrey, commander, U.S. Army Garrison Stuttgart. "We were behind and we had to make impactful changes to protect our community from the virus spreading." While coronavirus, or COVID-19, began in Wuhan, China, it quickly made its way to Europe, the U.S., and other parts of the world during February. U.S. military leadership in Europe began enacting control measures on Feb. 25, with orders to prepare for the virus’s impact its installations. Already, U.S. Army Garrison Italy, in Vicenza, was at the heart of the virus’s outbreak in Europe. During the next two weeks, as people returned to Germany from trips abroad. Baden-Württemberg, the German state where USAG Stuttgart is located, saw its first case in Göppingen on Feb. 26. From there, other cases of infected people sprang up, many from people who had been skiing in the Italian Alps. See HOW WE GOT HERE, page 15
Stuttgart Citizen, March 2020
How we must face the virus, together By Col. Jason Condrey Commander, U.S. Army Garrison Stuttgart Since I took command, our community has faced its fair share of challenges. We've had troubles with fixing our on-post housing, with heat and hot water, with traffic at our gates and with parking. None of those concerns match what we are facing now – an invisible enemy infiltrated our community, changing the way we conduct business, interact with each other and placing things we knew and trusted in doubt. On March 11, I felt like things were going well at the garrison as we made preparations for the impact of COVID-19. That afternoon, we received information that told me differently. Our pace was a jog and we needed to be at a sprint to attempt catch up with this virus. Our team made dramatic changes, overnight. You watched it happen — services shuttered, events cancelled and tables removed. All these were to enforce “social distancing,” a term we hear a lot about now, meaning to spread out and stay away from one another. It’s currently considered the best defense against the spread of the virus. As we did this, we experienced our first on-post positive cases. Baden-Württemberg reported its first deaths and would soon have more than 1,100 infected people in our area. Germany became a CDC Level 3 county – meaning it no longer mattered where you traveled. Our location was the affected area. Instantly, our military members, civilians and families had to stop moving. Schools, both on-post and off, shuttered their doors. We closed all but the essential on-post services, the commissary, the Exchange and childcare for our missionessential personnel. We are expecting more people infected. We are anticipating more closures. By the time you read this, it may already have happened. Our first line of defense is you. Know the symptoms. Know if you’ve
UNITED STATES ARMY GARRISON STUTTGART Commander Col. Jason W. Condrey Senior Enlisted Adviser Command Sgt. Maj. Toese Tia Public Affairs Ofﬁcer Larry Reilly Managing Editor Rick Scavetta Contributors Mac Hightower, Logan Ludwig,
Photo by Larry Reilly, Director of Public Affairs, USAG Stuttgart Col. Jason Condrey, commander, USAG Stuttgart, and Lt. Col. Maria Bruton, commander, Stuttgart Army Health Clinic, shoot a video March 15 to explain recent COVID-19 updates, to include testing at Patch Barracks. Communication is a top priority for the garrison, as the virus begins affecting community members.
been in contact with someone who is sick. Know when it’s time to tell your boss, your family and your friends — you’re sick. Know when it’s time to get screened. Know where to turn for help. The bottom line is — if the answer is yes to the “do you feel bad question,” don’t go to where other community members are. Leaders and supervisors, I’m counting on you to check our workforce. Make eyeto-eye contact. If people are teleworking,
Paul Hughes, Maria Alvarez USAG STUTTGART PUBLIC AFFAIRS OFFICE Building 2949, Panzer Kaserne Army Post Ofﬁce Mailing Address Unit 30401, APO AE 09107 German Mailing Address Panzer Kaserne Geb. 2949, 3rd Floor, Panzerstrasse, 70032 Böblingen Telephone:
09641-70-5962485 DSN (314) 431-3105
video chat. If your people are unwell, get them to self-isolate and seek healthcare immediately. Our new normal is not normal. Our world has quickly turned upside down. The uncertainty of how long this may last only adds more tension. We have people in between moves crammed into our hotels. Housebound in our homes, we are already feeling the stress of our families not being able to venture out. Children are adapting to online school-
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ing. It’s hard to keep the younger ones away from each other outside, even though we know the sun and the warmth are the virus’s mortal enemies. Many of us are now incredibly focused on COVID-19. But let’s never forget what is most important, our families, our friends and our colleagues. Maybe it’s time to break out that old movie from the 1980s, “Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure” and remember what the theme was — be excellent to each other.
The Stuttgart Citizen is an authorized newspaper, produced in the interest of the U.S. Army community in Stuttgart by the U.S. Army-Garrison Stuttgart Public Affairs Ofﬁce. Contents of the Citizen are not necessarily the ofﬁcial views of, or endorsed by, the U.S. Government or the Department of the Army. The Stuttgart Citizen is printed by AvantiPro, a private ﬁrm in no way connected with the U.S. Govt., under exclusive written agreement with U.S. Army Stuttgart. It is published monthly using the offset method of reproduction and has a printed circulation of 5,000 copies. Everything advertised herein shall be made available for purchase, use or
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Stuttgart Citizen, March 2020
Stuttgart Health Clinic sets up COVID-19 screening site By Larry Reilly Director, U.S. Army Stuttgart Public Affairs Office With the rise in COVID-19 positive cases throughout the state of BadenWürttemberg, the U.S. Army Health Clinic Stuttgart has set up a COVID-19 screening site to help mitigate the spread of the virus in the Stuttgart military community. The screening site, located outside the Patch Health Clinic, is open to all members of the Stuttgart military community, weekdays, 7:30 a.m. until 4 p.m. “If you are symptomatic and believe you may have come into contact with a suspected or known case of COVID-19, please first call the Nurse Advice Line for instructions, before you come see us at the COVID-19 drive-up screening site,” said Lt. Col. Maria Bruton, director, Stuttgart Army Health Clinic. According to Bruton, not all patients screened will be swabbed for COVID-19. “Through a variety of screening processes, to include potential testing for flu strains, only patients with a high likelihood of having COVID-19 will be sampled,” Bruton said “There is a limited number of tests available at this time, so it is vital that patients manage their expectations. We ask patients not to show up to the COVID-19 screening site if they are
Photo by Pfc. Logan Ludwig, AFN Stuttgart U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Crystal Magurie swabs a patient on March 14 at the COVID-19 care station at Patch Barracks. Magurie is assigned to the Stuttgart Army Health Clinic as a medic and tests patients for infection.
feeling healthy and just want to know.” Clinic officials say it’s important to remember is that its providers don't treat
COVID-19. They treat its symptoms. “Whether or not you have a positive test will not change the treatment you
receive,” Bruton said. “It just allows us to track where and how the virus is spreading, and isolate people who have been infected. Our providers are taking all appropriate action to ensure the safety of our military community.” Community members may be swabbed for the COVID-19 virus at the Patch clinic; however, it cannot test for the COVID-19 virus. All samples are sent to the Landstuhl Regional Medical Center for testing. The addition of the screening site to the everyday operations of the Patch clinic has put a strain on the staff and required the clinic to make some service adjustments to help augment its extended operations. To do so, the Army Wellness Center closed, Behavioral Health will only conduct one-on-one sessions, the Kelley Clinic Annex was closed and personnel were sent to the Patch clinic. All routine appointments were cancelled and the clinic will leverage its virtual help opportunities to continue providing periodic health assessments. “We are transitioning to acute appointments only,” Bruton said. “We want to make sure we are keeping healthy patients inside the clinic and minimizing exposure of patients who may have the COVID19 virus from interacting with healthy patients in the clinic.”
Stuttgart Citizen, March 2020
Graphics by Irina Shi & sdecoret / Shutterstock.com
CID encourages vigilance to prevent COVID-19 cyber scams
U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command Public Affairs
The COVID-19 pandemic presents cybercriminals with a way to combine both into a dangerous one-two punch. Most recently, the Johns Hopkins University COVID-19 interactive map has been hacked by cybercriminals. The hackers are selling copies of the interactive map as a malware tool used to steal passwords and user data. A significant number of additional coronavirus-related domains have been registered. CID officials warn users to not open attachments or links in emails coming from such domains. Army CID Special Agents are
QUANTICO, Va. — During this time of heightened awareness and protection against potential health risks associated with COVID-19, there is also an increased risk in scam methods used by cybercriminals. The U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command warns the Army community that some phishing campaigns prey on would-be victims’ fear, while others capitalize on the opportunity created by hot topics in the news cycle.
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Stuttgart Citizen, March 2020
U.S. Army Garrison Stuttgart Public Affairs In February, the coronavirus, or COVID19, spread from China to other countries. The virus had significant impacts on U.S. military installations in Korea and Italy. As the World Health Organization, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Military Health System monitored the outbreak, U.S. Army Garrison Stuttgart and its surrounding German communities saw the number of infections rise. Here’s a recent timeline that shows how COVID-19 arrived in BadenWürttemberg and how U.S. military officials and local communities responded. Timeline: February 25 - Germany reports 16 cases. Fifteen German citizens evacuated from China arrive at Stuttgart Airport and undergo observation in Kirchheim unter Teck. None test positive for COVID-19. Installation Management Command – Europe directs garrisons to implement force health protection measures. USAG Stuttgart begins preparing for the virus. February 26 - A 25-year-old man in Göppingen – about 45 kilometers east of Stuttgart, tests positive for coronavirus after a trip to Milan. U.S. military leaders hold a theater-wide discussion on COVID-19’s impact. USAG Stuttgart operates normally, to include services, events and activities. Military-essential travel to affected areas is reduced. February 28 - OVID-19 cases spring up in Steinenbronn, Göppingen and Tübingen. USAG Stuttgart ramps up disinfecting efforts at childcare facilities, monitors staff and children for symptoms. Shuttle buses get a deep cleanings. Supplies of hand sanitizers and other disinfectants are monitored. February 29 - Garrison staff lead a tabletop exercise and discussion with tenant units, to include clinic staff and public health personnel. The outcome was better cross talk and networking among key members of the community. March 2 - Baden-Württemberg has 26 positive cases. German officials upgrade the risk level from low to moderate. USAG Stuttgart assesses cancellation of upcoming on-post events. March 3 - Baden-Württemberg reports four new coronavirus infections, total is 30. A 61-year-old man from Zollernalb – near Hohenzollern Castle – was skiing in South Tyrol and returned home with symptoms. A 45-year-old woman from Ulm who was also skiing in South Tyrol test positive. Germany has 188 virus cases. March 4 - Baden-Württemberg reports 20 new cases, total is 50. Cases include returning travelers from Italy, Barcelona and Tehran. Böblingen County opened its first testing center in Herrenberg. Stuttgart Airport is operating under normal conditions. Passengers on direct flights coming from Italy fill out registration forms stating their whereabouts. March 5 - Baden-Württemberg reports several new cases, 80 in total. Many are returning from ski trips in South Tyrol in Italy. Local municipalities, schools and transportation are operating normally. Large events in Germany, to include major fairs in Berlin, Munich, Hamburg, Cologne, Karlsruhe and Leipzig are cancelled. The USAG Stuttgart public affairs
Photo by Pfc. Logan Ludwig, AFN Stuttgart U.S. Army medics Staff Sgt. Crystal Magurie and Staff Sgt. Christopher Castillo prepare swab sticks on March 14 inside the COVID-19 care station at Patch Barracks.
team sets up a COVID-19 web page. Routine closes after two confirmed cases. State theaters updates StuttgartCitizen.com and social media in Stuttgart and Karlsruhe that feature plays, ballets and operas close. inform the community. March 12 - Baden-Württemberg reports March 6 - Baden-Württemberg reaches 116 cases, to include three in Stuttgart its first COVID-19 death, a 67-year-old man from city. Germany reaches 534. In Italy, Bolzano Remshalden, roughly 13 miles from Stuttgart, and South Tyrol are classified high-risk areas. who returned from Africa (Congo) in February. Baden-Württemberg limits school trips to infect- Overall, Germany has four deaths and 2369 infeced areas. Organizers begin cancelling local tion cases, to include 454 in Baden-Württemberg. Stuttgart buses have events. A German patrons enter via high school in Lahr, “Our team made dramatic changes, the back doors. Five in the Black Forest, overnight. You watched it happen — closes after a stu- services shuttered, events cancelled and people at USAGdent tests positive. tables removed. All these were to enforce Stuttgart begin selfisolating after contact Stuttgart Airport ‘socialdistancing,’ a term we hear a lot with a positive-tested stand up a virus task about now, meaning to spread out and force, but opera- stay away from one another. It’s currently person. Col. Jason Condrey held his sections remain norconsidered the best defense against the ond COVID-19 town mal. USAG Stuttgart spread of the virus.” hall on Facebook increases cleaning Live, reaching regimens. Stuttgart — Col. Jason Condrey, 18,000 people. High School starts USAG Stuttgart commander March 13 cancelling sporting DODEA announces schools will close from events. March 7 - First U.S. military case in Naples, March 16 to April 20. USAG Stuttgart has two community members test positive for the Italy. March 9 - U.S. Army Europe commander COVID 19 virus. They are quarantined along enters self-isolation. Baden-Württemberg is with several co-workers. The garrison limits reporting 234 cases. Germany’s Health Minister all non-essential community services and canJens Spahn recommends cancelling events cel activities. The commissaries and Exchange with more than 1,000 participants. Stuttgart stores remain open. On-post restaurant offer holds a soccer game, VfB Stuttgart vs. Arminia take-out only. The dental clinic stops appointBielefeld, but the Long Night of the Museums ments. Chapel services are cancelled. Post offices, Army Community Services, ID Card scheduled for March 21 is cancelled. March 10 - First case at USAG Stuttgart, a office, housing and vehicle registration remain open. In Baden-Württemberg, an 80-year-old civilian employee. March 11 - Baden-Württemberg is at 277 Göppingen man dies – the third local death. cases, with 45 new infections. Angela Merkel Overall, Baden-Württemberg has 569 cases. urges “solidarity and reason,” saying to 70% Local schools close until April 19. Stuttgart of people in the country could be infected as orders all bars, clubs, movie theaters, museGermany pledges €1 billion to tackle COVID- ums and pools to close. Restaurants remain 19. Germany has 1296 Cases. Stuttgart cancels open. The Stuttgart lord mayor is also proStuttgarter Spring Fest and its first high school hibiting activities in the red light district.
Visiting hospitals and homes for the elderly is restricted. March 14 - A U.S. Soldier in Wiesbaden tests positive. A family member in Bavaria is also positive. Stuttgart Army Health Clinic opens a drive-up testing facility. Swabs are sent to Landstuhl Regional Medical Center for testing. The Defense Commissary Agency announces purchase limitations. Baden-Württemberg has 827 confirmed cases March 15 - USAG Stuttgart has thee positive COVID-19 cases. Roughly 100 community members are in self-isolation pending test results. Baden-Württemberg has 150 new cases, increasing to total to 977. Across Germany there more than 4800 cases. The Kelley Hotel closes and remaining guests move to the Panzer Hotel. Childcare is reduced to Child Development Centers and School Age Centers. At the commissary, delivery trucks arrive frequently and supply lines are reported to be good for the next month. March 16 - Reduced workforce at USAG Stuttgart. Soldiers at the gates ask health screening questions. Army Health Clinic Stuttgart’s Kelley Annex closes, to consolidate services at Patch. All Gyms, the USO centers and the Stuttgart Law Center close. Trace teams begin tracking down contacts of anyone testing positive. March 17 - USAG Stuttgart has five positive COVID-19 cases. Most offices on-post are closed. The dining facility on Panzer Kaserne begins offering frozen meals and to go plates. Soldiers and spouses start helping stock shelves at the commissary. The threat risk for pandemic in Germany moves from moderate to high, according to the Robert Koch Institute. Baden-Württemberg reports 1105 cases, and its fourth and fifth death. It’s one of the most infected German states. Local German hotels stop offering tourists overnight stays for tourists and many local stores are set to close within the week. Baden-Württemberg has 1,641 cases.
Stuttgart Citizen, March 2020
Exchange takes COVID-19 preventative measures Story and photos by Petty Officer 3rd Class Maria I. Alvarez American Forces Network Stuttgart The COVID-19 virus has brought many changes in our community. From gate closures to security measures, officials at U.S. Army Garrison Stuttgart are taking many steps to make sure community members remain healthy. The Exchange at Panzer Kaserne was right in step with garrison efforts, setting up procedures to ensure the community is wellprotected. That means having a single entry point. Customers now enter and exit the building through the food court. Upon entry, the Red Cross will provide squirts of hand sanitizer to help fight any lingering germs. Signs posted nearby explain social distancing and how that dis-
tance help deter spreading germs. Seat are no longer available for customers seeking to grab a bite at the food court. Clustering in the open food court is discouraged. Some community members were a little surprised when they realized they would no longer be able to eat inside. “At first I thought that that even the food court would be closed. I started asking people if everything was shutting down or what’s going on,” said Wendy Rodriguez, a member of the Stuttgart community. “I found out that they only removed the tables and that I would have to get my food to go and eat it at home or in the car. It’s a little inconvenient because the food court is usually a place where our family comes to eat on the weekend when there is nothing to do at home. Now we have no place to sit.”
Inside the main Exchange, staff set up an area to sanitize shopping carts and removed fragrance testers and makeup displays “Cashiers are sanitizing their workstations more frequently,” said Alexandria Minor, sales and merchandise manager at the Exchange. “We are also sanitizing any of the electronic products we have out. Anything that is a high traffic area is being sanitized.” The Exchange also implemented rationing to ensure people don’t hoard important items. “This includes hand sanitizers, disposable gloves, face masks, rubbing alcohol, thermometers, disinfectants, disinfectant cleaner sprays, paper towels, toilet paper and bleach,” Minor said. “All of our ration items are at registers 9 and 10.” People who don’t want to be in public as much can order online
and pick up items at the customer service area, Minor said. Newlyrationed items are not available for online ordering. The Exchange is also taking precautions, Minor said. “We have processes in place, such as local sources, so we can get more hand sanitizer,” Minor said. “They’re going to be air-shipping merchandise to us so that we can help our community. Overseas locations are a priority, so our company is making that a priority.” Although Minor does not see running out of items as being an issue however, things may change depending on how long the virus affect the community. “We’re doing anything we can to help our community and the garrison,” Minor said. “We’re going to be onboard with them and whatever they want to do to ensure the community and their safety and
health is our top priority.” Community vendors, who often sells her merchandise in the Exchange, cannot help but worry about their business. “The people mostly wear the Bavarian clothing during German fests and the next big festival here would be the Stuttgart Spring Fest,” said Pia Faber, Manager of Pia’s Bavarian Clothing. “The Stuttgart Spring Fest has been canceled and therefore it is not so easy for us at this moment. But I think, when the virus is gone, we’ll have a lot of fests. So, we can continue selling.” Faber has also changed a few of processes, due to the virus. “We have to spray the clothing with a disinfectant spray, and we wash our hand often,” Faber said. “We clean our pens after every writing from each customer on our service log. We just hope everyone is safe from the virus.”
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Stuttgart Citizen, March 2020
Hello Girls highlights women’s history
Photo by Erin Thrasher, special to the Stuttgart Citizen
By Petty Officer 3rd Class Maria I. Alvarez American Forces Network Stuttgart During World War I, Gen. John J. Pershing, commander of the American Expeditionary Forces, said women would serve on the frontlines, filling a crucial role – operating switchboards. Roughly 300 women – later known as “Hello Girls” – would work for the U.S. Army Signal Corps, with the majority serving in France. They were masters of the telephone switchboard, vital to maintaining communication with troops in the field. Unfortunately, at the time in 1917, they
couldn’t event vote back home. That would take a couple more years. Their story, detailed in a book Elizabeth Cobbs wrote called “The Hello Girls: America’s First Women Soldiers,” tells the story of how women helped win that war and earned the vote – an inspiring story that uncovers a journey full of the challenges. This March, a musical “Hello Girls” — based on the story of women on World War I’s front lines was set to open at Stuttgart Theater at Kelley Barracks. The garrison planned to highlight Women’s History Month by partnering with the theater, using opening night of “Hello Girls” as a commemorative event.
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Just as the coronavirus, or COVID19, shuttered Broadway musicals, so too was the fate of the Stuttgart performances. The show is now postponed until further notice. Volunteers and staff at the theater worked on the production for two months, rehearsing long hours during the week and on some weekends. Nevertheless, leading lady Tracy Coffey, who plays character Bertha Hunt, said learning her part meant a lot. “Anytime you portray a real person you feel this extra sense of responsibility because you don’t want to portray her incorrectly,” Coffey said. “When I’m in a play that’s based on history, if I can research the character, I do.” Coffey read Cobbs’ book and Bertha Hunt kept a diary, so there was a lot of background, she said. “It was incredible just to see how much they wanted to serve their country,” Coffey said. “These women were gutsy and wanted desperately to make it to the front lines because they knew they were good at their job and wanted to be there helping to serve the war effort.”
With COVID-19 on the garrison's doorstep, Coffey felt relieved the musical is postponed. “We’re perfectly willing to wait until further notice because we do know our director wants this to go forward so when we can we definitely will,” Coffey said. Cara Reichel, a playwright, director and producer and Peter C. Mills, a composer and lyricist, adapted the story of the “Hello Girls” into a musical. “We were so thrilled when we learned that this performance at Stuttgart was happening and would involve active duty military and others in the community,” Reichel said. “We hope that the show will eventually go on in Germany.” During March, Americans commemorate Women’s History Month, highlighting the contributions of women throughout history. It’s a time of observance, reflection and celebration. This year is the 100th year anniversary of women in the U.S. attaining the right to vote. The 2020 Women’s History Month theme is “Valiant
Women of the Vote.” “We sort of thought, well maybe these women should sing and have the opportunity to hear their voices and their story,” Reichel said during a recent telephone interview from New York. “That’s the reason we thought it should be a musical.” Reichel marvels at the journey these young women took and their story. “What’s important about their journey … it’s such an example of citizenship and activism,” Reichel said. “The women didn’t want to be left out of fighting for democracy.” Their journey played into a fight that extended beyond their roles as “Hello Girls,” but to women throughout America during their time, Mills said. “It was an important fight for women’s suffrage too,” Mills said, citing an argument of the era that men serve in uniform, putting their lives on the line, and women didn’t. “So, the idea that women were now going to serve in the military was an important step in getting universal suffrage.”
Changes in our community
Photo by Pfc. Logan Ludwig, AFN Stuttgart Stuttgart residents wait outside of the Patch clinic to be tested for COVID-19 on March 14 at Patch Barracks. The clinic practices social distancing with its patients by not seeing too many at once.
Photo by Rick Scavetta, USAG Stuttgart Gate guards stopped holding identifications when scanning community members cards.
Photo by Pfc. Logan Ludwig, AFN Stuttgart U.S. Army Col. Troy Baker checks in with a patient visiting the COVID-19 care station on March 14 at Patch Barracks. Baker questions all patients to gauge their risk of infection.
en, March 2020
Photos by Rick Scavetta and Mac Hightower, USAG Stuttgart Shelves at the commissary were quickly emptied and customers formed long lines at the check out.
Photo by Michele Wiencek, TSC Stuttgart Command Sgt. Maj. Toese Tia joined service members and spouses March 17 to help stock the commissary.
Photo by Rey Ramon, TSC Stuttgart Marine Sgt. Margarita Valenzuela helps stock shelves at the Patch Barracks commissary on March 17. Troops helped out during the COVID-19 response.
Photos by Maria I. Alvarez, AFN Stuttgart, and Rick Scavetta, USAG Stuttgart Tables spread apart one day for social distancing were later removed altogether, as restaurants served only takeout.
Stuttgart Citizen, March 2020
What about the pets? Animal owners should continue to include pets and other animals in their emergency preparedness planning, including keeping a two-week supply of food and medications on hand. Here is some information the Stuttgart Citizen received from the local military veterinary clinic.
Photo by Javier Brosch / Shutterstock.com
Can my dog/cat give me the new coronavirus? According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), no animals in the United States have been identified with the virus and the same is true for Europe. There is no evidence that dogs or other pets can spread COVID-19. While this virus seems to have emerged from an animal source, it is now spreading from person-to-person in China. There is no reason to think that any animals including pets might be a source of
infection with this new coronavirus. However, since animals can spread other diseases to people, it’s always a good idea to wash your hands after being around animals. Can I give my dog/cat the new coronavirus? The CDC recommends that people who are sick with COVID-19 restrict contact with pets and other animals, just like you would restrict your contact with other people. When possible, a member of the household
other than the individual who is ill should care for any animals in the household. Those infected with COVID-19 should avoid contact with animals, including petting, snuggling, being kissed or licked, and sharing food. Those who must care for a pet, or who will be around animals while sick, should wear an appropriate facemask and wash hands thoroughly before and after interacting with those animals. News reports said a dog in Hong Kong
tested positive for COVID-19; how do I know if my dog has it? On Feb. 27, a pet dog in Hong Kong tested “weak positive” for the virus that causes COVID-19. Its owner also tested positive for coronavirus. According to the report, another dog quarantined at the same facility (but in a separate room) was also tested, but the results were negative for the virus. At this time the precise meaning of the positive test result from the one dog remains unclear and further evaluation is ongoing.
What you should know about travel restrictions (As of March 13) Q1. What is being done to ensure our service members are safe in their travels and keep them healthy? A1. The actions outlined in Secretary Esper’s memo and the Force Health Protection Supplement #4 are done to protect our personnel and their families. The department will take several measures to enhance traveler safety, such as establishing pre- and post-travel screening and reception procedures and transitioning to military and DoD contracted aircraft for from or to CDC Level 3 or Level 2 designated areas. Additionally, DoD has instituted domestic official travel restrictions through May 11 (e.g. Permanent Change of Station and Temporary Duty) to safeguard our people. We encourage all DoD personnel and families to visit https://www.defense.gov/Explore/ Spotlight/Coronavirus/ for tips on staying healthy. Q2. Why did DoD institute travel restrictions on its people? A2. In order to help limit COVID-19’s spread and its impact on the force, the Secretary of Defense instituted travel restrictions for both international and domestic travel. Q3. Who does the domestic travel restriction apply to? A3. All DoD service members and civilians, and their family members will stop all official travel – such as Permanent Change of Station or Temporary Duty – through May
11. Exceptions may be given for compelling cases where the travel is: (1) determined to be mission essential; (2) necessary for humanitarian reasons; or (3) warranted due to extreme hardship. Q4. When did the domestic travel restriction go into effect? A4. March 16. Q5. If somebody is already TDY or a family has departed for their CONUS PCS, what should they do? A5. Those who have already begun their travel may continue on to their final destination. Individuals whose TDY ends within stop movement period may return home. They should still be mindful of the health protection measures like social distancing and handwashing during their travels. Q6. Does the domestic travel restriction affect those who must travel for medical treatment? A6. No. Travel for medical treatment is still allowed. Q7. Can military members still take leave? A7. Service members may only take leave in the local area. This is being done to limit the spread of and potential exposure to COVID-19. Exceptions may be given for compelling cases where the travel is: (1) determined to be mission essential; (2) necessary for humanitarian reasons; or (3) warranted due to extreme hardship.
Q8. Do the Level 3 locations include the European countries mentioned by the president? A8. DoD follows the levels and countries designated by the CDC. As of March 11, the CDC updated the list of countries designated as Level 3. This includes the Schengen Area countries of the European Union. The complete list can be found here: www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019ncov/travelers/index.html. Q9. Did the Force Health Protection Guidance also go into effect March 13? A9. Yes, the policy is in effect as of March 13. We ask that all of our personnel proactively taking the actions to protect themselves and those around them by employing those protective measures including practicing good hand washing, social distancing, and taking appropriate actions if feeling sick now. These measures can dramatically decrease the risk of infection and slow the spread of COVID-19. Q10. What will screening measures (as mentioned in the Force Health Protection Supplement #4) entail? A10. We are instituting risk assessments and if necessary, medical evaluations, for all personnel prior to departure on any military aircraft. Additionally, we are putting preventive monitoring measures in place for those who have recently traveled. Specifically, for those who recently traveled to, though, or from a CDC Travel Health Advisory Level 2 or Level 3 country, we are directing that they stay at home at 14 days, practice social distancing, and self-monitor for potential symptoms of COVID-19 including
taking their temperature twice a day. For all other returning travelers, including those traveling within the United States, we are telling them to practice social distancing and be mindful in their daily self-observation for any signs or symptoms of COVID-19. For all, we are telling them that if they feel sick, they should immediately self-isolate, notify their leadership, and call the appropriate medical authorities for assistance. Q11. Will DoD designate specific locations that service members returning CONUS must travel to in order to be placed under the 14-day restriction of movement? A11. There is no designated quarantine location for returning personnel. Each service member will stay at home or other appropriate domicile coordinated with the parent command for 14 days, practice social distancing and conduct self-monitoring. All required pre-travel screening will be adhered to in accordance with the Force Health Protection guidance supplement #4. Q12. What about individuals who have had their household goods picked up but haven’t departed their location? A12. Each situation is different. Individuals will need to contact their shipping office to determine if their household goods are still in the local area and whether or not they may have access to them. To read the full Q&A and get more information on restrictions, visit StuttgartCitizen.com.
Stuttgart Citizen, March 2020
Photo by Spc. Hayden Hallman, 20th Public Affairs Detachment A Korean Soldier assists a U.S. Army Soldier donning personal protective equipment before sanitizing a COVID-19 infected area during a joint disinfecting operation in Daegu, Republic of Korea, March 13. The primary function of PPE during the operation is to protect the user from disinfecting agents.
Photo by Spc. Hayden Hallman, 20th Public Affairs Detachment Two U.S. Soldiers and a ROK soldier spray a COVID-19 infected area with a solution of disinfectant in Daegu, Republic of Korea, March 13, 2020. The Soldiers wear personal protective equipment with the primary function of protecting themselves from the disinfecting agent.
Worldwide military response
Photo by Sgt. Amouris Coss, U.S. Army National Guard Army Spc. Reagan Long, a horizontal construction engineer assigned to the 827th Engineer Company, 204th Engineering Battalion, 53rd Troop Command, New York Army National Guard, alongside Pfc. Naomi Velez, a horizontal construction engineer assigned to the 152nd Engineer Support Company, 42nd Infantry Division, register people at a COVID-19 Mobile Testing Center in Glenn Island Park, New Rochelle, Mar. 14. Members of the Army and Air National Guard from across several states have been activated under Operation COVID-19 to support federal, state and local efforts.
Photo by Lance Cpl. Taylor Smith, U.S. Marine Corps A Marine gate sentry demonstrates how sentries at all Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune and Marine Corps Air Station New River entry control points will limit contact with all identification cards. The provost marshal has instructed sentries to limit personal contact with those entering the installations out of an abundance of caution and in an effort to limit the potential spread of disease, such as COVID-19.
Photo by Spc. Glenn Brennan, U.S. Marine Corps Army Spc. Alexander Decaro, a unit supply specialist assigned to the 102nd Military Police, 53rd Troop Command, alongside Spc. Garett Vogel, also a unit supply specialist assigned to the 102nd Military Police, 53rd Troop Command, hands out food to members of the community during Operation COVID-19 at the Martin Luther King Community Center, New Rochelle, New York, March 13. Members of the Army and Air National Guard from across several states have been activated under Operation COVID-19 to support federal, state and local efforts.
Photo by Lance Cpl. Drake Nickels, U.S. Marine Corps Marines assemble tents at the quarantine site being set up near the 13 Area on Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, California, March 15. The site will serve as a quarantine area for any service members showing coronavirus symptoms or who test positive for the virus. The site is scheduled to open later this week.
Photo by Senior Airman Sean Madden, U.S. Army National Guard (Left) Spc. Bristol of the New York Army National Guard 396th Battalion and Airman 1st Class Nieves with the New York Air National Guardâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s 106th Rescue Wing, help clean City Hall in New Rochelle, New York, March 14. New York Army and Air National Guard members are supporting the multiagency response to COVID-19.
Stuttgart Citizen, March 2020
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Stuttgart Citizen, March 2020
COVID-19 brings early spring break
Photos by Petty Officer 3rd Class Maria I. Alvarez, American Forces Network Stuttgart) Students at Stuttgart High School and Stuttgart Elementary School depart campus, March 13. As of press time, schools on post are closed until April 20.
By Pfc. Logan Ludwig American Forces Network Stuttgart Students looking forward to spring break got their wish, earlier than they expected. Shortly after the German state of Baden-Württemberg announced it was closing schools in response to coronavirus, or COVID-19, the U.S. military in Stuttgart closed on-post schools for dependent children. “We mirror the actions of our host nation, said Col. Jason Condrey, commander, U.S. Army Garrison Stuttgart. “Due to this, on-post schools will be closed until April 20. However, it’s not just an extended break. There is a plan to keep up education.” Stuttgart High School Principal Rick Renniner said the military and the Department of Defense Activity Education Activity announced on March 13 that schools would close March 16. Schools were already creating online classroom sites so that classes would be possible, according to an official release from the Europe East District Superintendent, Steven L. Sanchez. “With digital learning plans and several avenues of communication,
students will still receive a proper education while staying safe from COVID-19,” Sanchez said. Until the schools reopen, student will have online schooling to complete and a little more free time. Teachers and faculty will continue to work toward furthering education and keeping the students safe. Online classes may not
be ideal for everyone, but school officials say they should work until classes resume. As students left school, some voiced their concerns, amid the ambiguity surrounding the impending virus. “School being cancelled is a good precaution for our community, especially since the virus is
spreading throughout Germany so quickly,” said London Massey, a SHS sophomore. “There are a lot of sources with different pieces of information, so it’s hard to know the facts of it all. Regardless, I thinks it’s good to be cautious and prepared for anything that comes our way.” Other concerns — cancelling
events that students were looking forward to. Grace Hawkins, a SHS senior, wondered if school closing for a few affect student’s ability to participate in the prom, graduation and sports. “A lot of people in sports are upset because they really wanted to do their championship,” Hawkins said. Another senior, Savannah Taylor, voiced how events and sports are important. “These events provide structure,” Taylor said. “When that structure is removed, it results in many students, including myself, feeling confused.” Her pro and con mentality was shared among many students. “It will limit potential contact with the coronavirus but will at the same time hurt our ability to complete work and learn the educational material,” said senior Eric Fager, who understands why schools are closing but isn’t sure about the negative effects. While the closure continues, the DODEA Europe East District and school officials will meet every day. They will assess the potential risk of opening or keeping schools closed. DODEA school updates will be shared on StuttgartCitizen.com.
Stuttgart Citizen, March 2020
An old list of concerns By Ch. (Col.) Bill Lovell Command Chaplain, USAG Stuttgart
A year ago, right after I had finished a prayer and before starting my daily office labors, I looked up and saw this obscure legal-pad size piece of paper hiding out underneath one of my bookcases. I reached down and pulled out this sheet of paper. Instantly, I remembered what it was. Eight months prior, I was in the middle of many transitions in my life. I had divided this sheet of paper into two columns and on the left side, I had made a list of 11 things that were completely outside of my control, for which I needed help from God to address. Over time, on the right side, I would make notes of how my prayers were answered. I’ll call this my spiritual running estimate, for those of you trained in Joint Military Decision-making Process Regretfully, I got into the busyness of life, doing my job, etc. … and forgot about this list. It had fallen off my wall, due to my neglect, and nestled
itself into the underside of my bookcase. I looked again at this spiritual running estimate and realized something amazing had happened since I had taken stock of my prayers. All of the worst of my fears — that could have happened — did not come about. God gave me wisdom on all of the 11 items over the course of a year. On three of the items, there were undeniable positive resolutions that I could not have predicted, planned or provided for by myself. Only one item was not completely resolved and the magnitude of that problem was radically reduced. I had not taken stock of how well my prayers were answered until this moment, when I recounted what I asked for and how God had helped me. A great way to build up your spiritual resiliency, especially when you prayed for help, is to take stock of what was the concern and noting how it was resolved. Our grandparents’ generation used to say, “count your blessings.” God finds ways to reminds us — like the list revealed from
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Photo by Rick Scavetta, U.S. Army Garrison Stuttgart Chaplains, Lt. Col. Grace Hollis, left and Col. Bill Lovell, discuss changes to religious services recently at U.S. Army Garrison Stuttgart. Some weekly services are being held via live stream to accommodate worship during the COVID-19 outbreak. Chaplains are always available on-call.
under my bookshelf — that we are not doing life alone. We are not left to our own limited resources and wisdom. As we face our current
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Stuttgart Citizen, March 2020
how we got here, continued from page 1 Soon, it didn’t matter where people had traveled. Enough Baden-Württemberg residents were infected and the virus spread to people they made contact with. Now, the entire map state, updated daily by the state government, turned from green to red, showing that nearly every county in the state had infection cases. At first, many people were in denial and thought the virus might not affect them. Conflicting news reports created ambiguity. Posts on social media sites ranged from laissez-faire attitudes, shrugging off the seriousness, to panic. It was hard during the first few days for people to decide how they should act. Before long, there was nothing left debate. Lines of cars outside the Stuttgart Army Health Clinic on Patch Barracks formed, as Soldiers began screening the community and sending sampled swabs to Landstuhl Regional Medical Center for testing. By March 13, when USAG Stuttgart began shuttering all but essential services, and the Department of Defense Education Activity schools announced they were closing for a month, people scrambled. Lengthy lines formed at the commissary. Toilet paper disappeared from shelves as quickly as it could be stocked, a phenomenon that launched a thousand memes online. On March 15, when Sgt. Brian Hill, a Soldier with the American Forces Network, and his wife Robin walked into the Panzer Kaserne food court with daughter Abby and Maddie, the girls were puzzled. “They asked, where are the tables,” Robin Hill said. “I had to explain that we have to keep a certain distance. We can only order food, then go home to eat it.” The Hill family had stopped off for some baby supplies. Robin Hill was due to deliver a baby girl at a German hospital on March 17. The family is also due to rotate back to the States. Facing a virus in the community just complicates things. Younger children often hear they
Photo by Michele Wiencek, TSC Stuttgart The commuity pulls together in tough times, like the COVID-19 crisis, to include working to re-stick shelves at the supermarket.
have to wash their hands, but perhaps with not such urgency. “It’s thrown me off,” Hill said. “I realized this was going to be different when my eldest, Abby, came up and asked me, ’Dad, what it is COVID-19?’” Dry skin cracked from constant handwashing. People glared at passersby who coughed or sneezed.
The handshake became and elbow bump, then a wave and finally just an acknowledgement of each other’s distance. Then schools closed — a harsh reality especially for some students who had been focused on SATs, prom and graduation. “It’s all happening very fast. It has become more extreme than I thought it would,” said Shelby
Harrison, a 12th grade at Stuttgart High School. “For some reason, I feel as if I don’t have the whole perspective on the situation with this pandemic. I’m of the mindset that it can’t happen to me, I won’t be affected, though I already am with my school being cancelled.
Editor's note: Mac Hightower and Lea Scavetta contributed to this article.
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It’s stressful being a senior this year, unsure of college and now even more unsure of the next few months.” Meanwhile, further restrictions were implemented. Only mission essential personnel were told to report to work. Childcare was limited. Most on-post services stopped, all except the commissary, the Exchange and the post office, plus a few other things to keep the garrison running. Nightly the garrison sifted through information from German officials and the emergency operations center to glean the latest information for community members. Condrey made several videos, standing true to his motto of “communicating early and often.” At Robinson Barracks, Edjuan Otey, a Child and Youth Service employee and spouse of a Sailor, were doing what they could to keep healthy and beat boredom, especially for their two children. “We don’t do anything on the weekend, except maybe go to the park now,” Otey said. “The unknown is most stressful.”
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