Task Force McCoy: One case of measles, less than 24 cases of COVID among Afghans

FORT McCOY — There has been a single measles outbreak and fewer than two dozen cases of COVID-19 among Afghan evacuees, according to a spokesperson for Fort McCoy.

“There is not a measles outbreak at Fort McCoy,” said Cheryl Phillips, the director of Public Affairs for Task Force McCoy, a group made up of several federal divisions to process and provide service to the refugees on the Monroe County U.S. Army base.

A single person was diagnosed with measles Sept. 5 and placed in isolation. Those who were at risk of exposure were put into quarantine and received the measles vaccine.

“Since the identification of the case, no other guests have been diagnosed with measles. The rapid response at Fort McCoy reflects careful preparation and strong interagency collaboration aimed at meeting the needs of our guests, including the management of infectious disease,” said Phillips.

The U.S. government is also screening Afghan evacuees for COVID-19 and offering vaccinations at sites near the Washington-Dulles and Philadelphia International airports.

Task Force Mccoy Conducts Covid 19 Testing

Pfc. Kyle Kollath, an aviation operation specialist for 1st Battalion, 147th Aviation Regiment assigned to Task Force McCoy, swabs an Afghan evacuee’s nose for COVID-19 testing Sept. 7, 2021, at Fort McCoy, Wisconsin, as part of Operation Allies Welcome. The Department of Defense, through U.S. Northern Command, and in support of the Department of Homeland Security, is providing transportation, temporary housing, medical screening, and general support for at least 50,000 Afghan evacuees at suitable facilities, in permanent or temporary structures, as quickly as possible. This initiative provides Afghan personnel essential support at secure locations outside Afghanistan. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Ryan Tatum/181st Infantry Brigade)

Courtesy of DVIDS

There have been fewer than 24 COVID-19 cases among the Afghan population. Those who have the virus are in quarantine, as well as about 125 people identified by contact tracing who may be at risk. The Wisconsin Department of Health reports that 121 Monroe County residents — not including the refugees — have been confirmed to have COVID-19 in the last seven days, as of Thursday afternoon.

“Afghan nationals who go to military bases will receive a medical screening, including for TB, and they will be given critical immunizations like MMR and polio to protect public health, these are conditions of their entry into the United States,” said Phillips.

DHS has coordinated the effort to get Afghans vaccinated.

Phillips said the base continues to receive Afghan evacuees.

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