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Epidemiology and Health 2021;e2021065.
DOI: https://doi.org/10.4178/epih.e2021065    [Accepted] Published online Sep 8, 2021.
COVID-19 Outbreak in a Military Unit in Korea
Chanhee Kim2  , Young-man Kim3  , Namwoo Heo2  , Eunjung Park2  , Sojin Choi2  , Nayoung Kim4  , Donghyok Kown3  , Young-Joon Park3  , Byeongseop Choi5  , Beomman Ha6  , Gyeonghwa Jeong6  , Changbo Park7  , Sejin Park5  , Heeyoung Lee1 
1Center for Preventive Medicine and Public Health, Seoul National University Bundang Hospital, Seongnam, Korea
2Infectious Disease Control Center, Gyeonggi Provincial Government, Suwon-si, Korea
3Central Disease Control Headquarters, Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency, Cheongju, Korea
4Regional Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Korea Disease Control & Prevention Agency, Seoul, Korea
5ROK Armed Forces Medical Command, Republic of Korea Army, Seongnam, Korea
6ROK Army Headquarter, Republic of Korea Army, Gyeryong, Korea
7ROK Armed Forces Epidemiologic Investigation Center, Republic of Korea Army, Seongnam, Korea
Correspondence  Heeyoung Lee ,Tel: 010-8752-9367, Email: wanderingstone@gmail.com
Received: May 24, 2021  Accepted after revision: Sep 8, 2021
Abstract
Objectives:
This study presents the response of a military unit to the COVID-19 outbreak in Gyeonggi Province. As soon as two soldiers were identified as index cases, the infectious disease investigators of the Gyeonggi Provincial Government, Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency and the Armed Forces Epidemiologic Investigation Center, discussed the investigation and response plan for an imminent massive outbreak.
Method:
The joint immediate response team (IRT) conducted interviews with confirmed patients with COVID-19, reviewed medical records, performed contact tracing using global positioning system (GPS), and undertook a field investigation. For risk assessment, the joint IRT visited all eight sites of the military units and the army chaplain’s church to evaluate the transmission risk of each site. The evaluation items included the size of the site, the use of air conditioning, whether windows were opened, and whether masks were worn. A pooled testing was used for a low-risk population to quickly detect the spread of COVID-19 in the military base.
Results:
A day before the symptom onset of the index case, the lecturer and >50% of the attendees were infected with COVID-19 while attending a lecture that lasted 2 h and 30 min. Attendees were not wearing masks and were in a poorly ventilated room.
Conclusions:
Since the disease can be spread before symptom onset, contact tracing must be performed to investigate potential exposures prior to symptom onset and manage any exposed persons.
Keywords: COVID-19; Outbreak; Epidemiologic Investigation; Military-Unit
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