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90th Medical Group conducts mass COVID-19 testing

airman directs patient

Senior Airman Anthony Vazquez directs personnel to their next stop for COVID-19 testing May 20, 2020 at the golf course on F. E. Warren Air Force Base, Wyo. The effort was intended to ensure the medical readiness of personnel tripping out to the missile field. Medical group staff tested about 250 personnel throughout the day. (U. S. Air Force photo by Glenn S. Robertson)

Airman directs patient

Master Sgt. Jack Kovachevich verifies the information of a servicemember before directing them to the next step for COVID-19 testing May 20, 2020 on F. E. Warren Air Force Base, Wyo. The effort was intended to ensure the medical readiness of personnel tripping out to the missile field. Medical group staff tested about 250 personnel throughout the day. (U. S. Air Force photo by Glenn S. Robertson)

airman directs patient

Airman 1st Class Sara Rhodes directs personnel to the testing site after ensuring their receipt of a testing kit for COVID-19 May 20, 2020 on F. E. Warren Air Force Base, Wyo. The effort was intended to ensure the medical readiness of personnel tripping out to the missile field. Medical group staff tested about 250 personnel throughout the day. (U. S. Air Force photo by Glenn S. Robertson)

Doc conducts COVID swab

Captain Hyun Yoon conducts a COVID-19 swab test May 20, 2020 at the base clinic on F. E. Warren Air Force Base, Wyo. The effort was intended to ensure the medical readiness of personnel tripping out to the missile field. Medical group staff tested about 250 personnel throughout the day. (U. S. Air Force photo by Glenn S. Robertson)

Airmen collect test kits

Medical personnel collect completed test kits into a cooler May 20, 2020 at the golf course / base clinic on F. E. Warren Air Force Base, Wyo. The effort was intended to ensure the medical readiness of personnel tripping out to the missile field. Medical group staff tested about 250 personnel throughout the day. (U. S. Air Force photo by Glenn S. Robertson)

doc swabs patient

Major John Schlotz conducts a COVID-19 swab test on Staff Sgt. Ryan King May 20, 2020 at the base clinic on F. E. Warren Air Force Base, Wyo. The effort was intended to ensure the medical readiness of personnel tripping out to the missile field. Medical group staff tested about 250 personnel throughout the day. (U. S. Air Force photo by Glenn S. Robertson)

doc swabs patient

Major Andy Ellis conducts a COVID-19 swab test on Senior Aiman Darren Shoemaker May 20, 2020 at the base clinic on F. E. Warren Air Force Base, Wyo. The effort was intended to ensure the medical readiness of personnel tripping out to the missile field. Medical group staff tested about 250 personnel throughout the day. (U. S. Air Force photo by Glenn S. Robertson)

medical safety gear

Medical personnel display the tools of the COVID-19 testing trade May 20, 2020 at the base clinic on F. E. Warren Air Force Base, Wyo. The effort was intended to ensure the medical readiness of personnel tripping out to the missile field. Medical group staff tested about 250 personnel throughout the day. (U. S. Air Force photo by Glenn S. Robertson)

F. E. WARREN AIR FORCE BASE, Wyo. --

Medical personnel from the 90th Medical Group tested more than 250 troops from across the 90th Missile Wing May 20, 2020 on F. E. Warren Air Force Base, Wyoming.

The personnel, composed of Defenders, Maintainers, Operators, Facility Managers and Missile Chefs, were directed to receive testing to ensure minimization of COVID-19 infections to personnel traveling to the missile field.

Lieutenant Colonel Erin Knightner, commander of the 90thOperational Medical Readiness Squadron, was tasked with spearheading the effort.

“We decided to push for a nearly ‘all hands on deck’ approach to test as many of those going out to the missile field at once,” said Knightner. “We are working to ensure full support of those personnel carrying out our no-fail mission.”

Personnel arriving for testing first checked in with medical personnel at the base golf course, who verified their information and provided them with a sticker that would be placed on their testing kit. They were then directed to the clinic, where medical staff would conduct the actual test.

All of this happened with troops never having to leave their vehicle.

“We wanted to make this as efficient as possible for everyone,” said Knightner. “The actual testing process is not particularly pleasant, but we did try to ensure it had some conveniences for those getting tested.”

Testing for COVID-19 involves the insertion of a swab deep into the nasal cavity, then rotating it to collect a sample – an uncomfortable proposition at best.

“I’ve gone through this test three times already,” said Tech Sgt. Anthony Sezer. “I can do it again if they need me to, but I'm hoping this one is the last time.” 

Following the test, the kits were collected and taken back to the on-site laboratory for antigen testing to verify if any of those tested might be asymptomatic, but still carrying the virus.

Results for the tests typically take 2-3 days, said Knightner, and would be available before those tested were expected to trip out to the missile field.