WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE — Wright-Patterson Air Force Base’s Public Health Emergency declaration, initiated at the start of the pandemic, officially expired June 30. Commander of the 88th Air Base Wing Col. Patrick Miller elected not to renew the order based on continued improvement on base and across surrounding Ohio communities.
The action follows his statements from a June 3 coronavirus town hall, in which Miller said that he did not plan to renew the public health emergency, “as long as pandemic numbers keep trending in a positive direction.”
The expiration is considered a positive sign in the COVID-19 battle, but it was not an easy decision, Miller said.
“Based on current conditions, I did not renew it,” Miller said in a July 1 statement. “I did not make this decision lightly and fully recognize the impact it has on directing telework. Our civilian personnel team is here to assist if you have any questions regarding current telework rules, establishment of telework agreements, or updating position descriptions.”
The incidence rate has steadily declined and local medical treatment facilities continue to see low numbers of COVID-19-related admissions, according to an installation news release. However, recent emergence of the new Delta variant of the virus means that Wright-Patterson “cannot let its guard down,” Miller said.
The 88th Medical Group has readily available supplies of the Pfizer vaccine, and those unvaccinated are encouraged to seek out the latest information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Ohio Department of Health to assist in informed decision-making.
Health care professionals at Wright-Patterson Medical Center also are available to answer questions.
Personnel and family members 12 and older can schedule a vaccination by calling 937-257-SHOT or visiting https://informatics-stage.health.mil/WPAFBCOVIDApp/.
Unvaccinated personnel must continue to wear masks indoors. Physical distancing is still in play and good hygiene remains critical.
More community events and activities are being held in-person on base, and Child Development Center slots are increasing, according to an installation release.
“The fact we have made it here, at a point when we can terminate the Public Health Emergency, is a tremendous accomplishment and something that we should celebrate,” Miller added. “I’m excited to see increased events across the base and teammates reconnecting.”
Reach London Bishop at 937-502-4532 or follow @LBishopFDH on Twitter.