2nd Cavalry Regiment restricts soldiers to quarters after positive coronavirus tests
By IMMANUEL JOHNSON | STARS AND STRIPES Published: September 2, 2020
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GRAFENWOEHR, Germany — The Vilseck-based 2nd Cavalry Regiment this week imposed a 14-day restriction of movement for its soldiers after an unspecified number of troops tested positive for the coronavirus.
The restriction, which went into effect Tuesday in Vilseck and Grafenwoehr, applies to thousands of troops on and off post and is “to allow for increased testing and monitoring for COVID-19,” regiment spokesman Maj. John Ambelang said in a statement.
The effort also will allow the unit time to complete contract tracing, Ambelang said.
Mission-critical functions such as medical appointments, maintaining essential equipment and assisting incoming and departing soldiers will continue with limited personnel, the unit said. What work must be done in person will be determined by individual commanders, Ambelang said.
When not working, soldiers may leave home to run “essential errands such as grocery shopping, medical and pharmacy appointments, banks, postal services, or vehicle maintenance and fueling,” Ambelang said.
Ambelang declined to say exactly how many new infections there were within the unit, citing Army policy in Europe.
“There have been a small number of personnel who have tested positive for COVID-19 in the 2d Cavalry Regiment over the past two weeks,” Ambelang said.
The Amberg-Sulzbach health authority, which oversees Vilseck, also declined to release how many U.S. military cases there were in the region Tuesday. While the military provides the office with case numbers, local German health officials said they agreed with the U.S. military not to release the information.
Some health departments in other parts of Germany restrict identifying information but do release figures on U.S. military coronavirus cases, while some other military commands, particularly in the Western Pacific region, routinely provide tallies of new infections.
Germany has received praise from world health authorities for sharply curtailing coronavirus cases after experiencing high numbers in late March and April. But the country has seen an increase in recent weeks, prompting warnings from health officials to continue following guidelines on social distancing, wearing masks and hygiene.
On Wednesday, the Robert Koch Institute reported 296 new cases in Bavaria, which has recorded 57,781 since the start of the pandemic. The state has been among the hardest hit in Germany.
Between March 31 and April 13 — roughly the height of the spread in the state — 2nd Cavalry Regiment soldiers were ordered to remain home as case totals in Bavaria rose sharply.
The latest restrictions haven’t caused any exercises to be canceled, Ambelang said.
“Leadership is taking these precautions for the safety of its Soldiers, their families and the USAG Bavaria community,” Ambelang said.