June 2, 2021 HPCON A Town Hall Questions and Answers

WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio - COVID-19 Town Hall Questions and Answers (As of June 2, 4 p.m.)

Workforce-/Mask-Related

Q: Will WPAFB follow Ohio protocols as far as no more mask mandates vaccinated or not? 

A: On June 1, 2021, Governor DeWine announced that unvaccinated individuals should still wear a mask indoors.  DoD and federal guidance for masks still stand on Wright-Patterson Air Force Base despite Ohio rescinding most of its public health related mandates today.

Q: Should units mark off 6-foot social distancing in bathrooms (i.e. only allow using every other stall or sink)? Should units identify walking patterns/flow within their facilities to ensure 6-foot social distancing?

A: Leaders and supervisors should look at the workspaces to make the best decision on how to maintain physical distancing.  Workspaces should still honor physical distancing, unless one of the occupancy exceptions applies (DAF Delegations and Occupancy Exceptions to SecDef Force HPCON framework).  Workplace mitigation recommendations can be found on the CDC website.  https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/workplaces-businesses/index.html

Q: What is the max amount of people allowed in a meeting room?

A: Physical distancing of 6 feet or greater still applies in the workplace unless working under one of the occupancy exceptions from the DAF Delegations and Occupancy Exceptions to SecDef Force HPCON framework.

Q: Why require social distancing with elimination of masks for vaccinated members?  The CDC site says no need for vaccinated individuals to social distance.  Recent DoD guidance addresses masking and eliminates the need for vaccinated members to wear a mask, but does not address social distancing.

A: Until federal and DoD guidance specifically address physical distancing, WPAFB is still required to follow the 6-foot physical distancing rules.  This is different from the CDC guidance but Force Health Protection guidance is being updated and future releases will likely address this issue.

Q: Can a Commander/Director or GO/SES waive the social distancing requirement?

A: Per the DAF Delegations and Occupancy Exceptions to SecDef Force HPCON framework: “Commanders at non-joint bases and tenant mission owners will coordinate exemptions with mission partners and installation commanders as appropriate. If commanders cannot resolve the conflict, refer the issue to the next level of command.”  The occupancy exceptions should be reviewed before seeking a waiver.

Medical-Related

Q: Why are we not allowed to ask personnel if they have been vaccinated?

A: Per the Centers for Disease Control, our experts do not yet know how long you are protected from getting sick again after recovering from COVID-19.  Even if you have already recovered from COVID-19, it is possible, although rare, that you could be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19.  Therefore, the CDC still recommends mask wear and that you should be vaccinated regardless if you already had COVID-19.

While natural immunity from a COVID-19 infection does give you some degree of immunity, current research is showing that the mRNA vaccines give you much more robust immune response including coverage of the variants seen in the US.

Per Headquarters Air Force guidance, the vaccines are currently voluntary and per DoD policy, as a general matter, supervisors may not ask employees if they have been vaccinated. Compelling employees to provide proof of vaccination status undermines the voluntary nature of the vaccine and vaccination status.

Q: What are quarantine and notification/contact tracing guidelines?

A: All COVID-19 positive should still be reported to Public Health for contact tracing.  Fully vaccinated asymptomatic close contacts do not require quarantine. Unvaccinated individuals still require quarantine (7-day, 10-day, and 14 day options can be used at the discretion of them member’s supervision).  88 MDG public health follows current CDC recommended contact tracing processes.

Q: What is the definition of High Risk? 

A: The CDC definition of High Risk: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/need-extra-precautions/people-with-medical-conditions.html

For information concerning the Department of the Air Force (DAF) intent for vaccinating the Total Force and its implications for civilian employees, please see the 11 May 2021 DAF Vaccination Policy and FAQ at https://www.wpafb.af.mil/coronavirus/