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Maj. Gen. Scott Efflandt

FORT HOOD — III Corps and Fort Hood Deputy Commander Maj. Gen. Scott Efflandt on Tuesday directed Fort Hood units to downgrade to “mission essential” personnel only to address COVID-19 concerns.

Efflandt said he was following the guidance of III Corps and Fort Hood Commander Lt. Gen. Pat White, who is currently deployed to Iraq, and consulted with county and state leadership in Central Texas before issuing the order for Fort Hood commanders and leaders across the installation to shift to “Mission Essential Manning” as of 2 p.m. on Tuesday.

“We will continue to assess the situation and will adjust further as needed,” Efflandt said. “This decision will help mitigate the spread of the virus while allowing us to maintain our core mission capabilities, and critical functions and services on the installation.”

Soldiers and civilians deemed not mission essential are being told to shelter at home and continue to follow best practices and CDC guidance, according to the directive.

Individual unit commanders and directors will decide who is mission essential based on their unit’s mission, said Christopher Haug, Fort Hood spokesman.

The Bell County Public Health District on Monday said a Fort Hood soldier assigned to 3rd Cavalry Regiment tested positive for the virus. The soldier is in self-isolation at his off-post residence.

A military retiree identified as male, age 40-49, living in Killeen, also tested positive over the weekend for COVID-19 at Carl R. Darnall Medical Center.

Tuesday’s order does not mean everyone can return to home, Efflandt said.

“Mission support to the Department of Defense and the nation continues as an enduring priority alongside our COVID-19 response,” he said. “As exemplified in our oath, the Army is part of the team that the nation turns to in times of crisis, in this case with 1st (sic) responder teammates. Mission and critical services on this installation will continue to operate; these activities will adjust over time as required by the local environment and other commitments.”

dbryant@kdhnews.com | 254-501-7554

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