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Commander provides COVID-19 update

Col. Patrick Miller, 88th Air Base Wing and installation commander, leads a COVID-19 virtual town hall and situation update March 3 from Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. (U.S. Air Force photo/Christopher Warner)

Col. Patrick Miller, 88th Air Base Wing and installation commander, leads a COVID-19 virtual town hall and situation update from Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. (U.S. Air Force photo/Christopher Warner)

WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio - Wright-Patterson Air Force Base is among the most-vaccinated installations in the Air Force, but services and the operating environment will remain at current levels as leaders maintain the fight against COVID-19, the 88th Air Base Wing commander announced April 14 during a Facebook Live town hall.

Col. Patrick Miller addressed the base concerning the latest COVID-19 situation update. He was joined by Lt. Col. (Dr.) Michael Crowder, the 88th Medical Group’s public health emergency officer; Col. Christian Lyons, 88 MDG commander; and Col. Paul Burger, the 88th Mission Support Group commander.

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

“It’s almost remarkable that we have 20,000 vaccines in arms and 9,000 fully vaccinated,” Miller said. “Because Ohio is outperforming us, please share information with us if you have been vaccinated off base. This helps us dial in the needle on how many more vaccines to request.”

The commander said military, contractors and civilians can report their vaccinations to unit points of contact so base medical providers can make informed decisions moving forward.

“As we talk about vaccinations, one of the areas I’m super proud of is our deployed vaccination-support team, close to 119 Airmen, who are currently sitting up in Detroit issuing 5,000 vaccines a day, strengthening our armor for our folks in Michigan,” Miller said. 

“We have amazing things going on with our support staff in Indiana, New Jersey, Maryland, Florida, New York and Minnesota, along with the Federal Emergency Management Agency issuing vaccines across the United States, doing everything they can to advance the ball in this fight against COVID.”

Local-area situation report

Crowder discussed COVID-19-related issues, including the local situation and U.K. variants and what can be done to stop any spread. He said the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued travel recommendations on vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals.

According to base officials, despite seeing a significant decrease in January and February, about half the states are seeing case increases. Ohio has seen a similar trend, but not as many.

DOD schema update

Wright-Patterson AFB is the second-most vaccinated installation in the Air Force, Lyons said at the town hall. He attributed this to all the leadership coordination and assisting units to ensure that base personnel who want vaccines have the opportunity to get one.

The base is ready to transition into Tier II starting April 19. Tier II includes all Wright-Patterson active-duty members, Department of Defense civilians and contractors, and TRICARE beneficiaries ages 16 and up - regardless of health condition.

To sign up for an appointment, use the WPAFB COVID app or call 937-257-SHOT. To schedule online, visit https://informatics-stage.health.mil.

You can also schedule a vaccination by using your smartphone to scan the QR code. 

Vaccination appointments are also available through the Ohio Department of Health at www.gettheshot.coronavirus.ohio.gov. Wright-Patterson Medical Center is open to take care of base personnel and beneficiaries. Health care professionals are available to answer questions and concerns.

Fitness centers

Burger said the operating status and capacity restrictions will remain in place for recreation facilities, child care and fitness centers.

“With physical-fitness tests around the corner and getting back to working out, we need to reserve space for military,” Burger said. “Because of this, we ask your patience as we are unable to increase capacity for civilians or retirees.”

Fitness center updates:

  • Jarvis will now require CAC-coded entry Monday through Friday from 4 to 5 a.m.
  • Dodge capacity will stay at 40 patrons
  • The limit at Wright Field will stay at 60

All fitness centers will give priority to the following:

  • Priority 1: Military
  • Priority 2: Adult dependents of service members (Call 937-257-4225 to reserve the Parent-Child Area for ages 6 and under. The area is limited to use by one family unit at a time for a max of 1.5 hours).
  • Priority 3: Essential personnel (DOD civilians working on the installation)

Child-development centers

Wright-Patt CDCs have slots available: 16 preschool, 37 toddler, six pre-toddler and eight infants. Go to www.militarychildcare.com to be put on the wait list. Any calls to parents need to be returned within 48 hours.

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month and National Child Abuse Prevention Month.

Miller said they are reminders that personnel should treat each other with dignity and respect. Wright-Patt CDCs will have pinwheels displayed April 20-23 to promote safe and healthy environments for all children.

If you’re driving through Area A at night, the commander urged Team Wright-Patt to take a look at the Arnold House, which is lit in purple to honor Month of the Military Child.

As for what’s next in the COVID-19 fight, Miller said “we continue to reinforce masks, physical distancing and good hygiene.”

“Stay socially connected and stay home if you are sick,” he added. “Take care of each other, and keep moving forward.”

Stay current on updates

To watch the April 14 Facebook town hall, visit www.facebook.com/WPAFB.

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