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Medical: Staying ahead of threats

U.S. Navy Lt. Cmdr. Diana Tran-Yu, the officer in charge of Task Force Lafayette with Task Force Lafayette, Navy Medicine Readiness Training Command, at Bethesda, Maryland, reflects in front of a patient viewing monitor in the COVID critical care ward in Ochsner Lafayette General Medical Center at Lafayette, Louisiana on Sept. 9, 2021. The task force, which specializes in critical care treatment, established a new critical care ward in the hospital to help take care of the sickest patients effected by COVID. U.S. Northern Command, through U.S. Army North, remains committed to providing flexible Department of Defense support to the whole-of-government COVID response. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. 1st Class Timothy Hughes)

U.S. Navy Lt. Cmdr. Diana Tran-Yu, the officer in charge of Task Force Lafayette with Task Force Lafayette, Navy Medicine Readiness Training Command, at Bethesda, Maryland, reflects in front of a patient viewing monitor in the COVID critical care ward in Ochsner Lafayette General Medical Center at Lafayette, Louisiana on Sept. 9, 2021. The task force, which specializes in critical care treatment, established a new critical care ward in the hospital to help take care of the sickest patients effected by COVID. U.S. Northern Command, through U.S. Army North, remains committed to providing flexible Department of Defense support to the whole-of-government COVID response. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. 1st Class Timothy Hughes)

(From left to right) U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Rosa Barringer, a respiratory care practitioner; Lt. Col. Melissa Beasely, officer in charge of Task Force Baton Rouge; 1st Lt. Brianna Green, an operations officer; and Master Sgt. Stephanie Todaro, a senior enlisted leader; all assigned to Task Force Baton Rouge, 81st Medical Group, at Keesler Air Force Base, Mississippi, discuss lessons Barringer has learned as a member of the task force in Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center at Baton Rouge, Louisiana on Sept. 8, 2021. Barringer said there are some practices she’d like to take back to her home station to further improve its efficiency in the trauma bay. U.S. Northern Command, through U.S. Army North, remains committed to providing flexible Department of Defense support to the whole-of-government COVID response. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. 1st Class Timothy Hughes)

(From left to right) U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Rosa Barringer, a respiratory care practitioner; Lt. Col. Melissa Beasely, officer in charge of Task Force Baton Rouge; 1st Lt. Brianna Green, an operations officer; and Master Sgt. Stephanie Todaro, a senior enlisted leader; all assigned to Task Force Baton Rouge, 81st Medical Group, at Keesler Air Force Base, Mississippi, discuss lessons Barringer has learned as a member of the task force in Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center at Baton Rouge, Louisiana on Sept. 8, 2021. Barringer said there are some practices she’d like to take back to her home station to further improve its efficiency in the trauma bay. U.S. Northern Command, through U.S. Army North, remains committed to providing flexible Department of Defense support to the whole-of-government COVID response. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. 1st Class Timothy Hughes)

KEESLER AIR FORCE BASE, Miss. --

Through prevention and response, public health has been able to keep military members and their families safe during the pandemic.

“When it comes to the COVID-19 delta variant, our approach is unchanged,” said Maj. Tristan Spierling, 81st Medical Group chief of aerospace medicine and public health emergency officer. “We rely very heavily on the Center for Disease Control for mitigation protocols we know work; masking, hand hygiene and physical distancing are things that have shown time and time again to reduce transmission.”

One of the biggest components in public health is conducting contact tracing, said Capt. Michelle Rosales, 81st Operational Medical Readiness Squadron public health flight commander and deputy public health emergency officer.

“We are able to identify those areas that are considered hotspots or outbreak areas and then focus our resources, communicating and working with leadership to ensure that we’re utilizing all prevention measures,” said Rosales.

Health Protection Condition measures also play a part in assessing the way the installation conducts operations, such as when to reduce capacity within the work and fitness centers and adjusting any other processes previously put into place.

 “We have to be willing to be nimble in our response,” said Spierling. “By discussing some of the challenges that we have in regards to our fight against COVID, what needs to be adjusted to better the fight, and having that team approach is necessary in order to be responsive.”