CAMP WALKER, South Korea—COVID-19 has become a pandemic that has affected almost every corner of the world. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), Far Eat District (FED) has been faced with challenges due to the pandemic, however, the district has remained resilient in its efforts.
A construction project at Camp Walker, South Korea, and managed by the Southern Resident Office (SRO) was subject to a decontamination operation due to two contractor employees testing positive for the virus.
One contractor self-quarantined after feeling sick and did not access the base while feeling symptomatic. However, one contractor employee had been feeling sick for several days and continued accessing the installation for a week. The contractor employee had been to the work site, working along with the construction management team and as the the safety chief, he accessed items all over the site.
According to Anthony Hambrick, SRO resident engineer, they were fortunate that the contractor wore personal protective equipment (PPE) and only moved from the gate to the work site each day.
Once informed of the results and once the contractor informed the project manager, he was sent home.
“That same day SRO was informed and initiated tracking of all SRO personnel that had been in contact with that employee, said Hambrick. “Also the contractor was instructed to have all individuals he came in contact with tested and quarantined for 14 days. Five of SRO employees did the same thing.”
The SRO team moved diligently to stop the spread of the virus and to take precautionary measures to protect personnel.
“However, this resulted in uncertainty regarding contamination of the job site, other areas on post, the camp walker community, and the health of other project staff to include FED employees who had interacted with the positive case during the week,” said Hambrick.
Hambrick stated that this construction site was the only one that had been affected by a positive COVID 19 case and decontamination of the site was necessary.
“A certified decon team was brought in by the contractor to clean the site, offices and construction area,” said Hambrick.
The site cleanup consisted of a three-hour block for spraying, a 48-hour block with windows and doors closed, and a 6-8-hour block with the windows and doors open.
The results of this incident initiated a 48-hour stand down for all of Daegu Area IV projects.
“During which the current mitigation agreement form was produced by USFK [U.S. Forces Korea] as all contractors had to sign acknowledgment and contractors are now reporting health status of all employees daily,” said Hambrick.
The Far East District continues to operate within the current guidelines in an effort to protect personnel and to stop the spread of the virus.