Miller acknowledged that the changes can be “deflating” to base workers, with “bravo-plus” coming just two weeks after the move to “bravo.” But he encouraged those watching a Facebook town hall Wednesday afternoon to continue to take the pandemic seriously.
“We are trying to make … good data-driven decisions about how we’re going forward,” he said.
Pre-pandemic, some 30,000 uniformed military members and civilians worked at Wright-Patterson daily.
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“Extra scrutiny” will be given to temporary duty assignments and the granting of leave, carefully considering destinations, Miller said.
“Wear that mask while you’re traveling; understand the rules where you are going,” he said.
Base leaders carefully monitor the state’s and surrounding counties’ COVID numbers.
“Across the state of Ohio, as of yesterday, 85 of the 88 counties were assessed as ‘high-risk,’” said Miller, commander of the 88th Air Base Wing.
Col. Patrick Miller, 88th Air Base Wing and installation commander, discusses adjustments to Wright-Patterson Air Force Base’s COVID-19 operating environment during a virtual town hall and situation update Aug. 4. U.S. AIR FORCE PHOTO/CHRISTOPHER WARNER
“The predictive models are not showing any end in sight any time soon,” he added.
We are now in “high transmission” essentially over the state, said Col. Michael Crowder, the base’s public health emergency officer.
“The transmission of delta (the COVID-19 delta variant) has to be respected,” Crowder said.
“The spread of the delta variant has dramatically accelerated since we last held a public briefing 10 days ago. We are at the highest number of new cases since February. Today we’re reporting 3,235 cases,” Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine said Tuesday in a press briefing streamed live at the the Ohio Channel.
The base has not reinstated a public health emergency. Today, the nation has COVID-19 vaccines and “some solid capacity across our hospitals both on base and off base,” Miller said, explaining why he did not declare a public health emergency.
“I encourage you to get that, because it’s making a difference,” Miller said of the vaccine.
Crowder asked listeners to make “an informed decision” on vaccines.
“Please give vaccination strong consideration,” he said.
Col. Christian Lyons, commander of the 88th Medical Group at Wright-Patterson, said the base awaits higher headquarters guidance on an expected mandate requiring Airmen to get the vaccine, starting in mid-September.
Wright-Patterson physicians are planning a Facebook town hall at 1p.m. Aug. 26 to answer questions about vaccines.