Detailed update of 21 SW COVID-19 status/actions follows. This is a dynamic situation and many of you will have unique situations. I ask that you please raise those concerns and enlist the help of our larger team. I know we have several of our teammates are overseas, expecting babies, caring for aging family members, experiencing financial hardships or a humanitarian crisis, and many many more circumstances. I will engage on behalf of any Airmen…please ask if you need help. Our First Sergeants and local community stand ready to assist in securing financial aide for our Airmen affected by spouses or family members now unable to work.
In the days ahead we will send separate emails, FB posts, ATHOC, and Pete App messages to base personnel. We are raising our Health Protection Condition to HPCON B. This is consistent with other Front Range bases and signals a heightened exposure risk. As such I ask for your help in enforcing Strict hygiene (no handshaking, wipe common-use items); if exposed, self-isolate; avoid potentially contaminated areas and take reasonable actions to limit contact such as propping doors open. Throughout our wing and our installations we have many Airmen in the high risk categories. Enforcing strict adherence to Center for Disease Control guidelines is not an option. My intent is for adherence to these guidelines to be our #1 priority.
Below is a recap of some of the impacts to the 21 SW mission, our Airmen and a few of the steps we are already taking.
Peterson Base Support: We are working with AAFES and DECA to get supplies directly from the warehouse. We do have several rooms available on base if we needed to quarantine personnel or someone in your home tests positive. We will be able to keep the gym open through the end of Apr with current cleaning supplies. We are contracting for 10 additional contractors to conduct daily cleaning of high traffic facilities (CDC, Dorms common areas, Bldg 1, DFAC, Gym, FSS Customer service…). We plan to use this same contract vehicle for deep cleaning if there is an outbreak in any Peterson facility or CM to protect the rest of our Airmen. Hand sanitizers are back ordered but soap (the most effective/important cleaning product) is in supply. Please speak up if your office area does not have soap or cleaning supplies.
Impacts to Services and Base Activities:
1. The following facilities will close: Bowling Alley, Library, Aquatics Center a. These facilities will close because there is no effective way of cleaning the items (bowling balls, books…) that are being used by individuals and keep them clean
2. TAPS, Right Start, ALS classes (and similar) are cancelled. We will have virtual TAPS and other classes available.
3. The fitness center will remain open. Our teammates are cleaning the facility with bleach/water solution every hour. However, the sauna and hot tubs are closed.
4. Intramural programs have been cancelled
5. Buffet-style self-service has been terminated across base (DFAC and HUB). The DFAC and HUB are providing to-go boxes and limiting close seating.
6. We are working with AAFES to institute a take-out only policy in the BX food court.
7. Only smaller scale recreational activities remain open. For example, aero club flights. ITT remains open.
8. The fitness assessment cell will continue Physical Fitness Testing. Personnel will utilize gloves and spacing.
9. In-processing will take place Monday on a one-on-one basis to limit exposure. We have several personnel already in the local area who are due to in-process.
10. CDC: Currently, there are 145 mission-essential requests. More discussion will take place on Monday to provide a solidified plan for the base. We will continue to work on a case-by-case basis. On Friday when we put out the mission essential only directive for the CDC we had 125 mission essential. 20 additional requests came in today. We are also hearing local CDCs may close. Going to mission essential allows us to consolidate to one facility and keep one in reserve in case of an outbreak. It also allows us to potentially accommodate children of mission essential affected by off base CDC closures. This will impact many Airmen and potentially (combined with the local school closure) cause us to send some people home. I’ve asked our squadron commanders to use sound judgement in either having Airmen work from home or just send them home outright on a temporary or rotational basis. We will work with individual cases as “mission essential” could change over time.
11. Effective 16 Mar, the BX will limit purchase (3 per ID card holder) of masks, hand sanitizer, gloves, rubbing alcohol, thermometers, disinfectant wipes, cleaners and sprays, paper towels, bleach and toilet paper.
Communication: Using the AF Connect App and a CAC reader on a personnel cell phone is proving to be much faster than both VPN or Webmail via desktop. Card readers can be purchased online. This would essentially give anyone the same capability as a gov iPhone on your personal phone. BTW this also gives personnel access to mypay, mypers, finance and travel, the AF portal and other sites.
Security Forces: We continue to limit handling of IDs at all base gates and ensure Defenders have adequate cleaning supplies.
Contracting and Finance: We are taking action to preserve our contracting and finance teams essential to securing additional capacity and capabilities needed to combat COVID-19.
Medical: We will begin limiting some medical services to ensure we do not run out of supplies of masks and sterile equipment. Dental services will be limited to those in Class III status and experiencing severe pain. Additionally, this will free up qualified personnel to conduct screening upon entering CM in order to preserve operations and safeguard those critical operations and personnel. The base remains in lockstep with the county, city and medical facilities at other bases. As a point of reference, here at Peterson we care for 23,500 enrollees with 125K across the city.
There are many more actions we are taking and many other critical Airmen in our Wing engaged in this fight. These are just the highlights. I’ll provide more details as the situation changes. I’ll be meeting daily with the senior leadership team to assess the situation and respond to the needs of you, our Airmen. Thank you for your continued leadership!