Base commander considers HPCON change

  • Published
  • By Darrius Parker
  • 88th Air Base Wing Public Affairs

WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio -- Wright-Patterson Air Force Base remains in Health Protection Condition Charlie, but rising numbers are “alarming enough” that the threat level could soon be elevated, the 88th Air Base Wing and installation commander said Jan. 5.

Col. Patrick Miller addressed the base on Facebook Live concerning the latest COVID-19 situation update. He was joined by Maj. (Dr.) Gregory Buchek, the 88th Medical Group’s infectious disease chief; Col. Christian Lyons, 88 MDG commander; and Col. Sirena Morris, 88th Mission Support Group commander.

The installation also remains in a public health emergency, which will last for the next 90 days, with a continued emphasis on maximizing telework.

“I want to highlight the severity of this COVID-19 pandemic here around Wright-Patt,” Miller said. “The numbers are alarming enough to make me consider a move to HPCON Delta.”

Miller said determining factors include rates for new COVID-19 cases, percent positivity and hospital capacity, both on and off WPAFB, which all have spiking numbers.

As he takes these factors under consideration, the safety and security of those on base and within the surrounding areas are of the highest priority.

“I need you on this team and I need you armed up on the front line because the only way we will get back to normal is if we all come together, community and installation, to turn the tide,” he said. “I want you to understand that we are here to protect you, to serve you, to make sure that we are setting you up for success, taking care of you and your families, and ensuring the security of the mission sets operating off this installation.”

Omicron variant

Since the omicron variant surfaced, it has been responsible for more hospitalizations and more cases, 88 MDG officials said.

“COVID-19 cases are going up, and that’s mainly because of the omicron variant,” Buchek said. “Throughout the nation, 95 percent of cases are due to omicron.”

If anyone feels the following symptoms, they should get a COVID-19 test, he added:

  • Fevers and chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headaches, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, diarrhea

CDC updates for quarantine, isolation

Those who have been exposed to the virus and don’t have symptoms, but have the potential to develop them, should quarantine, according to the latest guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Those with or without COVID-19 symptoms who have a positive test should isolate from others.

For people with mild symptoms, isolation can be discontinued five days after their appearance or a positive test, fever resolution for 24 hours without assistance from medication or improvement with other symptoms.

COVID appointments

Lyons encouraged those who wish to schedule appointments regarding the COVID test or vaccine to contact Wright-Patterson Medical Center, as well as remain patient on the phone lines.

“We are all in this together, and the Medical Center’s mighty medics are committed to providing safe and reliable care to our installation and to all our beneficiaries,” he said.

To schedule a test, call 937-52-COVID (2-6843). For a vaccine appointment, call 937-257-SHOT (7468).

Base facility operations

Morris addressed COVID-19 restrictions regarding Child Development Center and School Age Program operations. She confirmed the CDC at Wright Field North will consolidate with Wright Field South to assist in staffing shortages, room upgrades, and COVID-19 case reduction between staff and children.

“We want to do the best we can to take care of our littlest customers,” she said.

For more information regarding the CDC or fitness centers, visit the 88th Force Support Squadron website at www.wrightpattfss.com

WPAFB leaders encourage everyone to continue mitigation efforts such as washing hands, wearing masks and maintaining physical distancing.

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 Jan. 5 Facebook town hall, visit www.facebook.com/WPAFB/videos/1960135897502686.

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

Wright-Patterson Air Force Base
5135 Pearson Road, Building 10
Wright-Patterson AFB, OH 45433