Wright-Patterson Air Force Base lifts mask mandate

Airman 1st Class Matthew Neimi of the 88th Security Forces Squadron scans the ID card of a retiree at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base last March. Under new Defense Department guidelines, masks and face coverings must be worn upon installation entry but lowered briefly for identification purposes. U.S. AIR FORCE PHOTO/TY GREENLEES

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Airman 1st Class Matthew Neimi of the 88th Security Forces Squadron scans the ID card of a retiree at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base last March. Under new Defense Department guidelines, masks and face coverings must be worn upon installation entry but lowered briefly for identification purposes. U.S. AIR FORCE PHOTO/TY GREENLEES

COVID-19 hospitalizations continue to decrease in the region

Wright-Patterson Air Force Base on Thursday lifted the installation’s mask mandate as “surrounding communities meet new health thresholds for COVID-19.”

The base also transitioned to “health protection condition Bravo-plus” on Feb. 25 as local threat levels continued to greatly improve, moving to a relatively more relaxed array of health regimens and allowing more employees on base.

“Today, we enter a new phase of the pandemic as we adjust fire based on lessons learned over the past two years,” Col. Patrick Miller, 88th Air Base Wing and Wright-Patterson installation commander, said in an email Thursday. “As we focus more on severity of disease instead of volume, I ask that we don’t let our guard down and understand that with flexibly comes responsibility. We must continue to remain vigilant.”

As COVID-19 cases continue to decrease in Ohio, the state’s transmission rate is also dropping.

The state reported an average of 104.7 cases per 100,000 people in the last two weeks, according to the Ohio Department of Health. It’s the lowest transmission rate since Ohio reported 77.4 cases per 100,000 people on July 29. A month ago, Ohio recorded 949.5 cases per 100,000 people.

Thirty-one counties in Ohio, including Miami County, had a transmission rate of fewer than 100 coronavirus cases. According to ODH, local counties recorded the following transmission rates:

  • Clark County: 154.4 COVID cases per 100,000 people
  • Warren County: 134.3 COVID cases per 100,000 people
  • Champaign County: 123.4 COVID cases per 100,000 people
  • Preble County: 117.4 COVID cases per 100,000 people
  • Butler County: 113.8 COVID cases per 100,000 people
  • Darke County: 109.6 COVID cases per 100,000 people
  • Greene County: 102.4 COVID cases per 100,000 people
  • Montgomery County: 100.4 COVID cases per 100,000 people
  • Miami County: 94.4 COVID cases per 100,000 people

Ohio added 1,196 coronavirus cases in the last day and is averaging 1,515 cases a day over the last three weeks.

As cases have continued to drop since the omicron variant’s surge in January, hospitalizations have also plummeted.

Ohio had 954 people hospitalized with COVID as of Thursday, according to the Ohio Hospital Association. Of those with the virus, 83 were in west central Ohio and 229 were in southwest Ohio. Less than two months ago, on Jan. 10, Ohio had a record 6,749 COVID patients hospitalized, according to ODH.

Statewide coronavirus inpatients have decreased 85% in the last 60 days, dropping by 84% in west central Ohio and 72% in southwest Ohio, according to OHA.

Medical providers continue to recommend mask wear for high-risk individuals and in settings where physical distancing isn’t an option, the base also said. Patients, visitors and staff are still required to wear masks in Wright-Patterson Medical Center.

Lifting the mandate mirrors recent moves by other big employers, including Dayton city government, a growing number of local school districts and the federal courthouse in Dayton.

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