Soldiers returning from Africa will be housed for 21 days of observation at North Fort Hood barracks, post officials announced Tuesday.
The facility could hold up to 100 troops at a time and will be operational by Friday, Col. Matt Elledge, Fort Hood garrison commander, said at a Nov. 12 public meeting in Gatesville. Officials said they are not expecting any troops this week.
The Herald has questioned III Corps about the whereabouts and additional details of the quarantine location since Nov. 10, three days after Fort Hood was announced by the Army to be one of five posts that will quarantine incoming soldiers returning from Africa.
The public affairs office declined to comment as to why this request was denied as recently as Monday despite the public meetings being held in Gatesville last week. About 500 Fort Hood soldiers deployed to West Africa.
Fort Bliss, one of the other installations to host returning soldiers, provided localized information to the public the day after the announcement, even providing tours Nov. 8. Fort Bliss falls under the command of III Corps.
Soldiers returning from West Africa will initially be monitored for 10 days in Africa before returning to the United States, where they will then be monitored for an additional 21 days, Elledge said.
“It’s important that we educate Fort Hood and surrounding communities on what we’re doing and how we will protect the soldiers, families and the community,” Elledge said.
Those sent to Fort Hood for quarantine would not necessarily be Fort Hood troops, Elledge said. In fact, he hopes they would not be soldiers with families in the area.
“I wouldn’t want to come back to Fort Hood and not be able to see my family,” he said.
While at Fort Hood, the soldiers will receive twice-daily medical screenings. An on-site medical team will be trained to work with Ebola should any symptoms surface, said Maj. Rich Dempsey, a III Corps plans officer assigned to the project.
Soldiers undergoing the monitoring period will have access to wireless Internet, computers, video games and books.
Heather Graham-Ashley, III Corps and Fort Hood Public Affairs, contributed to this report.