As you’re aware, the COVID-19 Coronavirus is starting to have impacts in the local area such as school closures as well as here on base. Like many of you, I have young children, older family members and unique circumstances that warrant extra attention in light of COVID-19. Your entire base leadership team takes this situation seriously and is taking active steps to protect you, our teammates.
Our team is continuously monitoring the situation which is constantly evolving. We are actively engaged with the El Paso County Public Health Department, U.S. Space Force HQ, U.S.Air Force HQ, NORAD/NORTHCOM, other Front Range military bases and Defense Health Agency officials. Additionally, we continue to monitor for the most up to date guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Department of Defense.
As of this time, we do not have any active duty members who have tested positive for COVID-19 at any of our 27 worldwide operating locations, but we are continuing to engage with our base personnel and mission partners to monitor those who are at higher risk given recent travel or exposure history, and are taking the appropriate actions if necessary.
To help with the prevention of the spread of disease, and in consultation with our medical group’s COVID-19 team, I am enacting the following common sense measures:
- No handshaking. Use alternate greeting options such as elbow bumps, wave or other methods that reduce contact exposure.
- Keep office doors open/cracked unless necessary for security/privacy. This helps reduce frequency of contact with hard surfaces such as door handles.
- Take-out only from the Food Court. No dining-in to help reduce large crowding of patrons.
- No self-service food options at the HUB (formerly the Club) or dining facility.
- CAC cards and ID's will be visually inspected or scanned at a distance unless absolutely required for security/privacy.
- Entry and exit of buildings and work centers requires hand-washing with soap and water or use of hand sanitizer.
- Reduce time in common use areas. If required to be in an area, supplies will be provided to wipe down and sanitize the area upon arrival and prior to leaving.
- No work center potlucks. Individual meals should be brought from home or purchased. This reduces multiple contacts with serving utensils.
- We’ve also secured added cleaning contracts to conduct additional daily cleaning in high use areas. These same contracts will also be utilized for “deep cleaning” if one of your work centers experiences a positive COVID-19 test result.
- The gym remains open and our teammates are conducting hourly cleaning with bleach and other disinfectants. Please help out our fellow Airmen and keep this high traffic area clean.
In addition to these, other base resources may have services curtailed or discontinued to help reduce risk of exposure and to conserve resources such as cleaning supplies, which are in short supply across the nation. Hard to clean facilities such as the Bowling Alley, the Aquatic Center, and Library have already been closed. We will post any additional changes to services as soon as possible. Chapel services, as well as any gathering over 50 people, have been suspended for the next two weeks.
Two areas some may notice an immediate change is with our Child Development Center and Dental Clinic. We have taken action to limit access to these services in order to preserve them for the long term. This will impact many on Peterson and the leadership team stands ready to assist with special or unique circumstances.
The above changes to our normal routine are essential to helping maintain the overall health of our members and to ensure mission effectiveness. These decisions were made after consulting across the operations, mission support, and medical groups. We are all navigating through this which will require patience and flexibility from all of us.
Please continue to monitor our social media outlets as well as the Centers for Disease Control website http://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/index.html for more information. We will share information as it becomes available.
This is new territory for us all and it will not be without its challenges. You can expect that our team will monitor this dynamic situation and stay in communication with you as updates become available. We ask for your patience and understanding as we work this challenge together. I thank you for your support and strength as we respond to this unique situation.