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Commander addresses COVID-19 concerns

Col. Patrick Miller, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base installation and 88th Air Wing Base commander, held a Facebook Live town hall Nov. 16to address COVID-19 concerns and rising cases in the region.

Col. Patrick Miller, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base installation and 88th Air Wing Base commander, held a Facebook Live town hall Nov. 16to address COVID-19 concerns and rising cases in the region.

Col. Patrick Miller, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base installation and 88th Air Wing Base commander, held a Facebook Live town hall Nov. 16 to address COVID-19 concerns and rising cases in the region.

In the past five months, daily confirmed cases off base and across Ohio have risen from 434 to more than 7,000 per day.

The town hall also included Lt. Col. (Dr.) Michael Crowder, the 88th Medical Group’s public health emergency officer; Col. Christian Lyons, 88th Medical Group commander; and Col. Paul Burger, 88th Mission Support Group commander.

“We are getting comfortable and recognizing this is our operating environment for the long haul. But we’re starting to get a little bit complacent because we want to get our lives back to normal,” Miller said. “Unfortunately, that complacency, that lull – wanting to get back to normalcy in a different environment, has enabled COVID, our enemy of the day, to creep into our lives and come at us full force.”

On-base testing data show transmission rates are up to four times lower than those off the installation. On base, only 6 to 7 tests are positive out of every 100 conducted, as opposed to off base, where the average is 25 positives per 100 tests.

The Wright-Patterson Medical Center has capacity to test 170 patients a day (24 an hour) in their drive-thru testing lane.

Miller emphasized that in order to combat the state’s rising numbers, the base will take a few steps back – but not return to Heath Protection Condition Charlie. Wright-Patterson AFB will stay at HPCON Bravo and Phase 2 of its Return to Full Capacity/Capability Plan. The commander said Team Wright-Patt has the proper measures in place and teammates are doing the right things on base.

Current protection measures

  • Mandatory mask wear on base and in buildings/work centers, while in groups of more than two, and riding in a vehicle with more than one person outside your family.
  • Physical distancing of at least 6 feet from others.
  • Maximizing telework for eligible personnel and where it makes sense, while maintaining mission continuity.
  • Do not come to work if you feel sick.
  • No gatherings of more than 10 people inside or outside.
  • No potlucks or meal gatherings at work centers.
  • Work centers can bring up to 50% of the workforce back if mission(s) require, but that number is not a target – employees should telework if they don’t need to be on base.

“It is up to leaders and teammates to set the example, do the right thing and hold each other accountable,” Miller said.

To make a COVID-19 test appointment

  • Active-duty, retiree and enrolled beneficiaries: call 937-522-2778
  • Active duty can walk in at their assigned clinic
  • Government/NAF employees and non-enrollees: call 937-255-4809 (option 2)

For more information

Follow the Wright-Patt AFB Facebook page @wpafb to stay up to date with current information on the base and medical center.

To watch the Nov. 16 Facebook Town Hall, visit www.wpafb.af.mil/News/Video/videoid/772919/

If you have follow-up questions or concerns, email 88abw.pa@us.af.mil or call 937-522-3252.