COLUMBIA, S.C. — Fort Jackson announced Thursday that since April 30, the post has more recovered COVID-19 cases than active ones with no hospitalizations.

According to the release, the first two recovered soldiers graduated Basic Combat training on May 14. 

According to a story done by Fort Jackson, those two soldiers, Pvt. Carlos Mora and Spc. Juan Guajardo were feeling better after two weeks and were tested again. Within a day the two tested negative and were able to continue their training. 

"The screening and health protection procedures put in place early at Fort
Jackson helped protect the trainees and all the workforce," said Fort
Jackson Commander Brig. Gen. Milford H. Beagle, Jr. "We had early adoption
of abiding by stringent protocols designed to prevent, detect and contain
COVID-19 outbreaks."

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According to Fort Jackson, part of the protocol is contact tracing. Everyone who came in contact with someone who tested positive was contacted and tested, and isolated or quarantined.

Raymond Arnold, the project manager for Johnson Food Services LLC, said
there are 700 employees working at Fort Jackson and only 15 have had to be
tested due to contact tracing and all were negative. There was a former
employee who contracted COVID-19 through an outside source and has since
recovered.

"We are stringent about keeping a daily routines of safety measures and
inspections to keep everyone safe," Arnold said. "We have loyal and
dedicated employees who come to work every day."

Fort Jackson has also started testing every new recruit at the 120th Adjutant
General Reception Battalion before they begin basic combat training. If a trainee is positive, they will be quarantined. All trainees who are not
positive will start basic training without quarantine.  

"The 120th is also working directly with the installation contact trace team," said Capt. Samuel Warren, Delta company commander at 120th Adjutant General Reception Battalion.  "This ensures all trainees who have direct contact with trainee who is COVID-19 positive are also placed in quarantine prior to starting basic training."

Fort Jackson has also implemented a training model called "2 + 8". 

"We have moved instruction with limited personal interaction to allow for
proper social distancing upfront in a phase we are calling yellow phase,"
said 165th Brigade Commander Col. Eric Flesch.

Training in this phase is done at the platoon-level, meaning that trainees are exposed to the smallest population possible, just those who sleep in their same bay. Basic training is still 10 weeks, but if a trainee exhibits symptoms, the virus can be contained before they start interactive training.

The morning and night routines have also changed, according to Fort Jackson. The trainees' line up for a toe-the-line procedure twice a day in a different manner. Now, they use a social distancing technique of staggering the line instead of all being on the same line and their temperature is taken.

"We are checking to make sure their temperatures are under 100.4 and they
are showing no signs or symptoms for any type of COVID threat," said Sgt.
1st Class Donald Castelow, a senior drill sergeant in Alpha Company, 1st
Battalion, 34th Infantry Regimen.

"We will continue to take precautionary measures to protect the health and
welfare of Army personnel and our local community," Beagle said. "Fort
Jackson must continue their mission training new soldiers to meet the needs
of the Army and defend America."

For more information, follow Fort Jackson on social media and visit the COVID-19 updates page on their website.