Lt. Col. Karen Kramer, 88th Aerospace Medicine Squadron’s Public Health Flight commander, center, briefs the audience during a COVID-19 tabletop exercise on March 11 inside the Wright-Patterson Medical Center auditorium while Lt. Col. (Dr.) Hui Ling Li, installation public health emergency officer and 88 MDG chief of Aerospace Medicine, stands by. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Emily Rupert)

Coronavirus: Wright-Patterson leaders weigh recommendations

Wright Patterson Air Force Base leaders are evaluating policies to respond to the COVID-19 situation, the base is saying in an informational page on coronavirus.

“Changes will be implemented as appropriate as this situation dictates for the safety of our patients and our staff,” the page said.

The base’s coronavirus page can be found at https://www.wpafb.af.mil/corona/

Further guidance from the base to its workforce could come Friday, Col. Tom Sherman, commander of the 88th Air Base Wing, said at a town hall meeting event Thursday evening.

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Noting that Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine has ordered schools closed for three weeks starting with the close of school Monday, and that he has also prohibited mass gatherings, Sherman said base leaders are considering recommendations “that stay in concert with the governor’s message.”

“We are evaluating the situation very carefully and tomorrow we are going to come out with very specific guidances that will apply to all of you at Wright-Patterson,” Sherman said at the town hall Thursday.

“We’ll get through this,” said Lt. Col. (Dr.) Hui Ling Li, installation public health emergency officer at the base. “We’re all in this together.”

There are currently no confirmed coronavirus cases being monitored in the Dayton area, Col. Michael Foutch, 88th Medical Group commander, said Thursday evening.

Robert Purtiman Jr., public affairs director for the 88th Air Base Wing, said the base has created a “living document” where COVID-19 questions and answers are organized. The base encourages people to submit questions to 88abw.pa@us.af.mi.

A recording of Thursday’s town hall can be found on the base’s coronavirus page. 

“The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak is a rapidly changing situation,” the base said. “Wright-Patterson Air Force Base leadership is engaged on a daily basis with members of the health care community for the most current status of the virus and what precautions should be taken in our surrounding areas.

“The Wright-Patterson Medical Center … public health team and infectious disease physicians are also meeting daily to review guidance and information from local, state, federal, international, Air Force, Defense Health Agency, and Department of Defense organizations related to COVID-19,” the base added.

If TRICARE beneficiaries are showing symptoms of the coronavirus, they should call the medical center appointment line at (937) 522-2778 for guidance, the base said.

Daily updates can also be found at the Wright-Patterson coronavirus update page at https://www.wpafb.af.mil/corona/

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