Outlining Measures to Limit COVID-19 Outbreak Effects Among Military Personnel

Research Paper Title

Measures to Limit COVID-19 Outbreak Effects Among Military Personnel: Preliminary Data.

Background

The COVID-19 outbreak posed a threat to the readiness of military forces as well as their ability to fulfill missions.

Seeing that military forces have been encountering similar challenges, the researchers found it eminent to share the Israeli Defence Force (IDF) Northern Command’s (NC) preliminary experience.

Methods

The researchers retrospectively summarised the actions that were taken by our team, focusing on 18 battalions at the Israeli NC.

These actions included promoting a series of organisational changes in terms of social distancing and medical regulations as well as working to strengthen medical leadership through designated video meetings with medical commanders across the organisation.

Meetings included relevant clinical education, updates, and leadership building.

These actions and others were aimed to increase the researchers influence on the decision-making processes.

While they conducted real-time reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction SARS-CoV-2 laboratory tests for soldiers who were suspected to have COVID-19 (those presenting with compatible signs and symptoms after having been exposed to a confirmed COVID-19 patient), they were not able to screen healthy populations, nor did we have serum antibody serologic tests available during the study period.

The researchers reviewed the COVID-19 outbreak national data, obtained from Ministry of Health publishings and the IDF databases. Data were included from 26 February 2020 (day 0, first COVID-19 patient in Israel) to 19 April 2020 (day 53, about 1 month after most of the COVID-19 regulation were issued in the NC).

Results

The mean age of the battalion soldiers was 21.29 ± 4.06 (range 18-50), 81.34% male.

Most restrictions were issued on day 18.

On day 53, 98.85% of the personnel in the battalions were kept active and asymptomatic in their units.

Conclusions

Despite the limited availability of laboratory testing for COVID-19 their actions enabled them to lead a strict risk-management policy while maintaining most of the available workforce.

Reference

Segal, D., Rotschield, J., Ankory, R., Kutikov, S., Moaddi, B., Verhovsky, G., Benov, A., Twig, G., GLassberg, E., Fink, N., Bader, T. & Karp, E. (2020) Measures to Limit COVID-19 Outbreak Effects Among Military Personnel: Preliminary Data. doi: 10.1093/milmed/usaa112. Online ahead of print.

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