US Army Garrison – Kwajalein Atoll Commander Colonel Jeremy Bartel left a three-hour meeting on Ebeye June 1 with a smile on his face. The reason for the smile: Ebeye community members gave their approval for the Army to bring in six personnel to work at the Army installation.
The six personnel, five medical staff and a firefighter, are considered essential workers by Col. Bartel and US Ambassador to Marshall Islands Roxanne Cabral, who joined Bartel at the Ebeye meeting.
Prior to their scheduled arrival next week, the six are to go through a rigorous testing system as explained by Col Bartel: one Covid-19 test prior to boarding the military ATI flight, again upon arrival and a final test after 14 days in quarantine at Kwajalein.
“They have to test negative before they board the plane,” Bartel added. “They fly in, they land, we test them,” he added. “And to be super safe, we test them for the third time,” said Bartel who was speaking to a large number of Ebeye people assembled under tents, a pine tree and roof shade at the meeting.
Daily checks will be conducted throughout their quarantine days, a task similar to what’s being done to three Ebeye residents currently in quarantine after flying in from Pohnpei last week.
Residents Jack Akeang, Jeban Riklon, Calvin Juda, Marcella Sakaio, Sandra Korok, Abon Jeadrik, Patrick Korok and Jesse Riketa weighed in with concerns related to Covid-19 in general. Their questions were met with answers by the Ebeye medical team being led by Assistant Secretary of Health Glorine Jeadrik.
Prior to their departure back to Kwajalein, Bartel assured the community the two islands are on the same team.