WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio – Wright-Patterson Air Force Base remains in Health Protection Condition Charlie and under a public health emergency, but leaders say the outlook has begun to improve with continued safeguards and preventive measures.
Col. Patrick Miller, 88th Air Base Wing and installation commander, addressed the base Oct. 20 on Facebook Live 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. Sirena Morris, 88 Mission Support Group commander.
“We are excited to see things starting to trend in the right direction, but we need to keep after this,” Miller said. “We have to make sure that we are emphasizing, enforcing and carrying out those preventive measures of wearing the mask, maintaining good hygiene and, most importantly, getting tested when you aren’t feeling well.”
Under current conditions, there is still an emphasis on maximizing telework for Airmen and civilian personnel.
For HPCON Charlie, indoor events can now go up to 25% of room capacity with a maximum of 75 attendees. Attendance for outdoor events varies. If you plan to eat or drink, the cap is 100 people outdoors; if not, the cap is 200 attendees.
Anything beyond these thresholds requires a waiver, base officials said.
The Office of the Secretary of Defense and Air Force have issued mandatory vaccination memos. The only vaccine currently mandated by Department of Defense is the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, which is available on base. The other two options are Moderna and Johnson & Johnson, both available in the community.
Personnel can choose any of the three to meet the Air Force mandate. If military members receive a vaccination off base, they must provide proof of vaccination to Wright-Patterson Medical Center’s Allergy and Immunizations Clinic in order to update their record. Guidance is still pending for documenting civilian vaccinations.
To meet the Nov. 2 active-duty mandate, Airmen should have received their second dose of either the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccines or the first and only dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine by Oct. 18. All options require two weeks after the final or single shots to be considered fully vaccinated.
Civilian personnel have until Nov. 22 to be fully vaccinated. The timeline to meet this mark:
- Moderna: Second dose by Nov. 8 (requires 28 days between doses)
- Comirnaty/Pfizer-BioNTech: Second dose by Nov. 8 (requires 21 days between)
- Johnson & Johnson/Janssen: First (and only dose) by Nov. 8
To receive the Pfizer vaccine on base, visit the Medical Center auditorium.
TRICARE-eligible beneficiaries ages 12 and up, as well as contractors, can utilize the walk-in process at the Medical Center or schedule an appointment by visiting https://informatics-stage.health.mil/WPAFBCOVIDApp/ or calling 937-257-SHOT (7468).
Family members without an ID card must go to the Allergy and Immunizations Clinic to get their COVID vaccine. Records cannot be updated for non-ID cardholders at the auditorium. Walk-ins at the clinic may be redirected to the auditorium.
For those who received the Pfizer vaccine, and it has been more than six months since their second dose, booster shots are available at the Medical Center auditorium. Call 937-257-SHOT (7468) for more info on eligibility.
As the mandatory vaccination process has begun, certain criteria for exemptions must be met in order to bypass it.
“We are waiting further guidance from the Air Force regarding the exemption process for civilians and contract employee team members,” Lyons said. “We will be sure to share that information as soon as it is available.”
For the latest information regarding the vaccine’s medical and religious exemption process, TRICARE-enrolled civilian and contractor personnel can call 937-52-COVID (26843).
If active-duty members wish to file for exemption due to any religious accommodations, they must first submit the package to their commander.
“We are doing our due diligence to make sure we assess medical concerns, as well as religious accommodations,” Miller said. “All of that is currently playing out for our active-duty, Guard and Reserve teammates.”
Local, national update
Although COVID-19 transmission remains high in the local area, the case and positivity rates have reduced.
“Our hospitals are still admitting COVID-19 patients, but the rates they are being admitted are starting to go down,” Crowder said. “With the trends we are seeing right now, we are hopeful to go back to HPCON Bravo Plus soon.”
Base facility operations
Regarding Child Development Centers and School Age Programs, Morris addressed COVID-19 restrictions and closures, as well as updates to operations. She said officials remain very concerned about children’s health and safety.
“We want to keep as many of our classrooms open to care for the children at large, but we also do it out of an abundance of caution to make sure we keep our community healthy and safe,” she said.
Although base fitness centers were only accepting active duty, family members and civilians who work on the installation, Morris said they will now be available to retirees. Priority will still be given to active duty, but facilities are opening up more as long as capacity remains under the HPCON Charlie threshold.
For more information regarding the CDC or fitness centers, visit the 88th Force Support Squadron website at www.wrightpattfss.com/.
Stay current on updates
Follow the Wright-Patterson AFB Facebook page @wpafb to stay up to date on base and Medical Center operations.
To watch the Oct. 20 Facebook town hall, visit http://www.wpafb.af.mil/News/Videos.
If you have follow-up questions or concerns, email email@example.com or call 937-522-3252.