Commander addresses base to provide COVID-19 update

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Mikaley Kline
  • 88th Air Base Wing Public Affairs

WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio - Col. Patrick Miller, 88th Air Base Wing and installation commander, addressed the base March 3 on Facebook Live concerning the latest COVID-19 situation update.

Miller was joined by Lt. Col. (Dr.) Michael Crowder, the 88th Medical Group’s Public Health emergency officer; Col. Christian Lyons, the 88 MDG commander; and Col. Paul Burger, the 88th Mission Support Group commander.

Wright-Patterson Air Force Base remains in Health Protection Condition Bravo Phase 2, with an emphasis on maximizing telework.

Miller said mission commanders can now bring up to 50 percent of their workforce back to the installation, while maintaining current COVID-19 safety precautions such as mask wearing and maintaining physical distancing of 6 feet.

This comes on the heels of the Department of Defense and Air Force issuance of new guidance regarding mandatory facial coverings on federal installations.

DOD schema update

DOD recently updated its population schema for vaccine administration. The updated schema is:

  • Phase 1A: Emergency services and public safety personnel, health care staff and other medical personnel
  • Phase 1B: National-critical capabilities, deploying personnel, beneficiaries ages 75 and over, and front-line essential personnel
  • Phase 1C: Beneficiaries ages 65 to 74, high-risk beneficiaries ages 16 to 64, mission-essential personnel and DOD prisoners
  • Phase 2: Remaining population

“Currently we are vaccinating mission critical personnel and those 75 years or older,” Lyons said. “Once we have received a sufficient supply of the vaccine we will move appropriately down our DOD schema to vaccinate those 65 years and older and those with greater health conditions as defined by the (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention).”

Vaccine supply

“We’ve provided over 13,600 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine,” Lyons said. “This includes 6,500 people who have completed both doses of the vaccine. At this time we’re No. 1 in the Air Force for rate of COVID-19 vaccinations and No. 2 with total shots given. Unfortunately, we’ve exhausted our supply of the COVID-19 vaccine, but we hope to get more doses soon.” 

Local area situation report

“So as I’ve looked at the numbers over the last several weeks the state, the region, the surrounding four counties, and this installation have been trending down in hospitalizations and in (intensive care units),” Miller said. “And more importantly, in our COVID positive cases. As a matter of fact, there have been multiple days over the past several weeks that I have seen zero new cases and we haven’t seen that since last summer.”

The amount of people for social gatherings has increased from 10 to 50 people as long as individuals maintain physical distancing, wear masks and practice good hygiene.

“We’re pushing a note out to all of our mission partners that increases gatherings on installations up to 50 people effective today,” Miller said. “People need to understand that 50 people comes with some caveats. I’ll tell you a gathering of 50 is going to improve our social connectedness and we’re going to be able to talk and engage with our teams more.”

Child development centers

Burger provided an update on changes happening within the Mission Support Group, specifically within the Force Support Squadron.

“First and effective immediately, I’m happy to report that the ratios and our child development centers have increased,” he said. “That will allow nearly 120 children to come back into care.

“This is possible because of the Air Force’s new guidance mandating face coverings for children ages 2 and older.”

Due to the new mandate and consultation with the base’s Public Health Office, the child development centers are able to return to pre-pandemic caregiver-to-child ratios for preschool and toddler age groups. Burger noted this does not affect infants at this time.

“The staff today have begun contacting parents to let them know about this change,” Burger said.

“We do have some staffing shortages that were exacerbated by the COVID pandemic. In some cases ratios are not up to the full level in some of the classrooms. So if you are interested in possibly becoming a caregiver, or know someone who might be, we could definitely use you and that includes whether you want to provide childcare on base or in one of our family child-care centers off base.”

A phone number will be posted through the Human Resources Office for more information.

Fitness centers

“What I can tell you about our fitness centers is that the restrictions on our capacity limits are not going to be raised at this time,” Burger said. “In the coming weeks, we’re planning to reopen Dodge Fitness Center and capacity limits in that facility will be 40 as well. Details are still being worked out as far as hours of operations and what patrons will be allowed to use the facility at what time.”

One caveat for Dodge Fitness Center is there will be times when it won’t be available for use by the base population.

“The base has a mission to support deployers who are staying with us for a period of time before they go down range and this is in the interest of their well-being, wellness and fitness,” Burger said.

Wings Grille at the Wright-Patterson Club is scheduled to reopen March 5 with a 50-person capacity. Wings Grille will be hosting Fast Cash Fridays every week from 4 to 8 p.m. to include fun, games, cash and prizes.

ID cards

Burger went on to discuss the ID card process and how officials are working to fix it.

“I hear you loud and clear that we have some significant issues for some of you trying to get ID cards,” he said. “There are some serious issues with the RAPIDS scheduling system, with some of them being out of our control. The team is developing a plan for how to increase appointment capacity and availability right now and that plan is going to be coming out in a couple of days.”

Stay current on updates

To watch the March 3 Facebook town hall, visit

If you have follow-up questions or concerns, email or call 937-522-3252.