VICKSBURG, Miss. – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Vicksburg District is taking precautionary measures to assist public health efforts to contain the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) and protect USACE employees and visitors.
Effective immediately, the Vicksburg District is restricting access to all of its office sites to employees, contractors and essential service personnel. Additional guidance regarding the disposition of the district’s recreation sites across Mississippi, Louisiana and Arkansas, including visitor centers, interpretive centers and the Jesse Brent Lower Mississippi River Museum, is forthcoming.
“The health of our team and the community is our top priority,” said Col. Robert A. Hilliard, USACE Vicksburg District commander. “Protecting our team includes mitigating the spread of the virus and ensuring personnel have the most up-to-date information on appropriate measures to prevent potential spread of COVID-19.”
District leadership is also limiting gatherings and meetings to 15 personnel or less and is encouraging its workforce to telework if possible. The district is leveraging technology and communication tools to continue carrying out its mission.
In accordance with Department of Defense guidance released March 13, all DoD civilians and family members traveling to, from or through locations designated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as Level 3 Travel Health Notices will stop movement for the next 60 days. This includes all forms of official travel, including Permanent Change of Station, Temporary Duty and government-funded leave. Exemptions may be granted for mission-essential travel.
“The district’s Emergency Operations Center is now activated due to ongoing flood fight efforts within the district’s jurisdiction and for COVID-19,” said Hilliard. “Our engineers and technical experts will continue to monitor water levels and flood control works across the region; work with our local, state and federal partners; and provide updates as they become available. Our flood fight efforts are mission critical.”
Vicksburg District leadership continues to monitor the situation and are coordinating with federal, state and local public health personnel for updates. The district is complying DoD directives and supplemental “Force Health Protection Guidance for the Novel Coronavirus Outbreak” (https://www.defense.gov/Explore/Spotlight/Coronavirus/), and with current Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance for this virus (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019- ncov/index.html).
The district is encouraging all personnel to continue to practice proper hygiene as the best way to prevent the spread of viruses. This includes washing hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol when soap and water are not available. Also, avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands and avoid close contact with those who are sick. Cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched objects and surfaces should also be done.
The Vicksburg District is engineering solutions to the nation’s toughest challenges. The district encompasses a 68,000-square-mile area across portions of Mississippi, Arkansas and Louisiana that holds seven major river basins and incorporates approximately 460 miles of mainline Mississippi River levees. The district is engaged in hundreds of projects and employs approximately 1,100 personnel.