SEMBACH KASERNE, Germany – Army Medicine Europe maintains a robust COVID testing and reporting process, ensuring the health and safety of the entire military community in the European theater. At the same time, military health officials maintain open lines of communication with host nation public health officials responsible for monitoring COVID cases.
According to military health officials, the COVID reporting process in Europe has matured in recent months and has proven to be an effective tool in providing military leaders with a holistic picture of the impact of the epidemic on the DOD population in Europe.
“There are several mechanisms and systems in place to ensure that senior leadership at MEDCOM and USAREUR are promptly informed of positive cases of COVID,” said Col. Scott Mower, Force Health Protection Officer for the Regional Health Command Europe. “These processes have improved over time and we are always looking for ways to improve them further. “
“Communicating this critical information through operational channels enables senior military leaders in Europe to make better decisions when it comes to forcing protection of the health of the entire military population. “
Army health officials stress that it is essential to maintain close relationships with host nation medical offices.
“Public health departments and public health emergency managers at RHCE clinics are at the forefront of delivering these vital reporting missions,” Mower added. “PHEOs are working closely with their German counterparts at the community level to ensure that COVID cases are reported in a timely and accurate manner. They also immediately alert facility management when new cases are discovered.
“COVID is, by regulation, a reportable medical event and must be entered into an electronic disease reporting system, just like other serious communicable diseases of public health concern,” Mower said. “Most of the COVID reporting work is done by MTFs and their public health departments. They are the real worker bees in carrying out this mission.
Reporting of COVID cases to German health authorities is handled locally by each of the respective military health clinics.
“The military medical treatment facilities of each respective military community in the region submit routine COVID reports to their local German public health office (Gesundheitsamt),” said Dr Robert Weien, public health emergency manager for the US Army garrison in Rhineland-Palatinate. “Here in Rhineland-Palatinate, we submit our reports daily to the local German public health service.”
When it comes to COVID reporting processes across theater, there is no one-size-fits-all approach and each garrison does it differently, according to Col. (Dr) Jon Allison, chief preventive medicine for MEDDAC Bavaria.
“The reporting process and timelines vary from facility to facility depending on the local German Gesundheitsamt,” Allison said. “For example, the total positive COVID-19 numbers for Grafenwoehr are sent to the Neustadt (Weiden) Gesundheitsamt and the total numbers for Vilseck are sent to the Amberg-Sulzbach Gesundheitsamt. This is done on a weekly basis with the help of community health nurses.
Allison says that one of the benefits of Germany’s Decentralized Local Health Service System (Gesundheitsamt) is that it allows for the development of close / personal relationships between the local clinic’s health care team and their department. local German health care provider.
“Having a transparent and mutually supportive relationship removes potential barriers and fosters an overall healthy climate between the military and public health officials in the local community,” Allison said. “We value and rely on these relationships to help ensure the safety of our military community and ensure that we comply with host nation reporting requirements. “
U.S. Army COVID-19 Guidelines
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Regional Health Command Europe