WPAFB transitions to HPCON Charlie as Miami Valley COVID cases climb


WRIGHT-PATTERSON AFB, Ohio (WDTN) — Wright-Patterson Air Force Base transitioned to Health Protection Condition (HPCON) Charlie on Wednesday to combat the growing number of COVID-19 cases in the region.

According to Col. Patrick Miller, 88th Air Base Wing & installation commander, when the base transitioned from “Bravo” to “Bravo Plus” in August the number of positive cases kept rising. Base leadership attributes this to a steady climb in cases outside of the base.

“I will tell you this was not an easy decision for me. We were watching COVID cases, hospitalizations and positivity rates closely over the past month, and you saw that in our transition,” said Miller. “Just about a month ago we were sitting at HPCON Bravo. The situation was getting dicey, seeming more cases and positivity rates increasing.”

WPAFB declared a Public Health Emergency on Friday, Aug. 27, for the same reasons — a rise in cases on base and in the region. Miller said on Friday that they had six patients at base medical facilities and one of them was on a ventilator due to COVID-19.

Chief Master Sergeant Jason Shaffer, 88th Air Base Wing command chief, said Friday that base leadership is taking a step forward — and declaring a Public Health Emergency — to ensure that WPAFB is prepared to answer the nation’s call if needed.

“We need to be ready when our nation calls upon us,” said Shaffer. “Unfortunately, some of these measures we have to put in place will help us get there.”

The base went to HPCON Bravo in early August after 25 fully vaccinated base personnel tested positive for COVID-19. At the time, the base determined 122 people had tested positive for the virus, meaning roughly 20 percent of the positive cases came from fully vaccinated people.

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