‘Kicking our butt right now;’ WPAFB considers health protocol status change as COVID spike continues

WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE — The ongoing COVID-19 case and hospitalization spike across the region and country has Wright-Patterson Air Force Base officials considering changes to the base’s health protocol status.

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During a virtual town hall held Wednesday, 88th Air Base Wing Commander Col. Patrick Miller addressed the rising cases and the health condition status that could be changed in the coming days.

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“To be frank, COVID’s kind of kicking our butt right now,” Miller said.

The base currently sits at Charlie status on their health protocol status which sets workplace facility occupancy is at 25 percent or less. However, the current COVID-19 situation could have the base move to Delta status, which would see more workers switching to remote work and facility capacity limits reduced further.

Miller said four factors will play into the decision to change the health status: case incident rate, the trajectory of new cases, the percentage positivity rate of testing, and local hospital capacity.

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“As we try to transfer patients from one level of care to a higher level of care, it is difficult, if not impossible to do because of no open bed spaces,” Miller said.

The positivity rate for COVID testing in the four counties that surround the base jumped from 6 percent to 20 percent and Miller said the base is seeing the same trends.

“Now, positivity rates for those who are being tested are the highest seen to date on base,” Miller said.

“I want you too understand, we are here to protect you, to serve you, to make sure we are setting you up for success, taking care of you and your family.”

Miller noted vaccine rates among base civilian employees sits at 91 percent and enlisted personnel are at 97 percent. However with the other factors fueling the decision, Miller and other base leaders believe the health protection status might be changed soon.