The Pentagon released two separate sets of guidelines Wednesday in an effort to keep up with a medical landscape that continues to evolve as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
The first set of guidelines, titled “Force Health Protection Guidance (Supplement 5),” contain Defense Department instructions for moving and treating patients infected with COVID-19.
Moving patients in military aircraft, for example, is not recommended due to “airflow limitations” common in DoD planes, the document said.
Guidance on how to handle potentially exposed patients, as well as personnel displaying moderate symptoms, is also included.
“The COVID-19 outbreak continues to spread globally and as a result, medical treatment recommendations are rapidly changed,” the document states.
Supplement 5 discusses an array of additional topics, including patient placement, infection control, and ventilation use.
The second document distributed Wednesday, Supplement 6, provides an update to DoD laboratory testing procedures that must to be followed in accordance with guidelines set by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“Effective immediately, DoD Components will comply with this guidance to protect at-risk populations, maximize critical testing capability, and enable optimal public health decision-making,” the Supplement 6 document states.
One topic of note in Supplement 6 is the eligibility criteria that must be met in order for patients to be recommended to receive a COVID-19 test.
The decision of whether to test “symptomatic, mission essential individuals or those in high risk settings,” for example, will be made at the individual command level, the document said.
Also included are instructions on returning to duty following a test and isolation period.
Jon Simkins is a writer and editor for Military Times, and a USMC veteran.