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NEWS | July 17, 2020

JB Charleston Naval Health Clinic prepares for Navy-wide COVID-19 testing

By Airman 1st Class Sara Jenkins Joint Base Charleston Public Affairs


As the COVID-19 virus continues to spread around the world, medical professionals at Joint Base Charleston are taking preventative measures in an attempt to slow down the spread.


Hospital corpsmen at the JB Charleston Naval Health Clinic are training on how to administer a COVID-19 swab test in order for more testers to be ready to perform more tests on patients and Sailors. 


“The Navy is coming out with a requirement for us to do random testing Navy wide,” said Hospital Corpsman Petty Officer 1st Class Daniel Williams, a COVID-19 swab test training instructor assigned to the Navy Medicine Readiness and Training Command. “We are the medical providers to most of the tenant commands in the area, so it is going to fall on us to do the testing. We are going to need a pretty big team to respond to that.”


Lt. Cmdr. James Falkner, the director for public health at the Navy Medicine Readiness and Training Command Charleston, said he also believes that the swab test training is vital to being ready to test more people.


“We wanted to be able to have a ready pool of testers to be able to react at a moment's notice,” he said. “The preventative medicine department has been doing a great job of screening and testing symptomatic cases but as cases increase in this area and around the country, we want to be able to respond as quickly as possible to asymptomatic testing of a larger force.”


According to Williamas, the training is crucial in order to safely and proficiently perform tests. 


“I believe the training is important because we have to take this seriously,” said Williams. “We have to learn how to keep ourselves protected. It's very important to know how to put on and take off the gear, and we want to ensure everyone is properly trained on how to accurately collect a specimen.” 


Falkner said faculty at the NHCC has been doing a great job working together and getting ready for the large amount of testing that will be done in the near future. 


“The staff has really pulled together,” he said. “We are implementing the internal measures here at the clinic to maintain safety of the staff as well as our patients. The workload has been evenly distributed and everyone is pulling their weight. We are now preparing to be there when the base needs us.”


“We are preparing ourselves to be there when the base needs us for whatever testing or symptomatic cases that need to be taken care of,” Falkner continued. “I think we are ready and we are solid.”