WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE — Wright-Patterson Air Force Base will move from Health Protection Code (HPC) Charlie to HPC Bravo on Monday, Sept. 21. Under HPC Bravo, Wright-Patterson will be able to bring back up to 50 percent of military and civilian personnel back on site.
Base commander Col. Patrick Miller announced the transition during a virtual town hall Wednesday afternoon.
“Over the last six months, we’ve got good safety measures in place,” Miller said. “Because we have those things in place, to protect you and to respond appropriately, we have a good understanding and a stabilization of our environment.”
The base has seen an uptick in cases coinciding with major holidays and the reopening of schools and universities, though Miller said these cases were “predictable.”
“We’re comfortable with where we’re at,” he said.
According to Lt. Col. (Dr.) Michael Crowder, Wright-Patt’s Public Health Emergency Officer, case transmission on base has been extremely low.
“What we are doing on Wright-Patterson is working,” Crowder said.
With the declaration of HPC Bravo, the base will enter into phase two of its reopening plan, meaning Wright-Patterson will be able to operate at 50 percent capacity come Sept. 21. During his remarks, Miller emphasized that this number is not a goal.
Rather than rushing the base to “return to full capacity,” this move would allow the base to “return to full capability,” Miller stated. The transition gives personnel and mission partners some added flexibility to support the goals of the Air Force. As such, Miller encouraged mission partners that are successful while teleworking to continue to operate remotely. Additionally, mission owners and commanders will make the decision to bring back personnel as needed.
The transition to HPC Bravo will bring changes to gate hours, and other on-site facilities will continue to reopen with new requirements. Wright-Patterson will keep the public emergency declaration, and personnel will still be required to wear masks, physically distance, and practice all other relevant precautions.
During his remarks, Crowder also touched on the mental health impacts of the pandemic. Crowder encouraged base personnel to leverage Wright-Patterson’s mental health and base support services to combat what he termed “COVID fatigue.”
“Someday in the future, we’re going to be over this,” he said. “When we get there, I want us to cross that finish line together, safely, as a team.”