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Base operations continue smoothly under third week of Phase I of Return to Full Capacity plan

William Neitzke, left, 88th Air Base Wing Incident Command Center director of safety and planning and Tech. Sgt. Jeremy Ordiales, ICC section chief, admin cell, listen to a daily conference call with Col. Thomas P. Sherman, 88 ABW commander, while monitoring the COVID-19 pandemic at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, May 5, 2020. The continued use of face coverings, proper sanitation procedures and social distancing practices has enabled Wright-Patterson Air Force Base to complete three weeks of Phase I of its Return to Full Capacity plan without an increase to the number of positive COVID-19 cases reported by base medical center officials.  (U.S. Air Force photo/Ty Greenlees)

William Neitzke, left, 88th Air Base Wing Incident Command Center director of safety and planning and Tech. Sgt. Jeremy Ordiales, ICC section chief, admin cell, listen to a daily conference call with Col. Thomas P. Sherman, 88 ABW commander, while monitoring the COVID-19 pandemic at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, May 5, 2020. The continued use of face coverings, proper sanitation procedures and social distancing practices has enabled Wright-Patterson Air Force Base to complete three weeks of Phase I of its Return to Full Capacity plan without an increase to the number of positive COVID-19 cases reported by base medical center officials. (U.S. Air Force photo/Ty Greenlees)

WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio – As Wright-Patterson Air Force Base organizations complete the third week of Phase I of the installation’s Return to Full Capacity plan, base operations continue to run smoothly.

No significant increase in the number of reported COVID-19 cases has been identified by base or local medical officials within the past few weeks according to reports. Wright-Patterson Medical Center officials continue to be engaged with local public health partners and the state of Ohio Department of Health in monitoring the COVID-19 situation to determine any increases in positive testing, or significant impacts to medical care.

Base organizations have been authorized to return up to 20% of their assigned workforce as allowed by Phase I.  

“I would say that based on our analysis so far, our mission commanders are managing their personnel appropriately and are within the boundaries established in the Phase I framework for number of personnel coming onto the installation,” said base Fire Chief Jacob King of the Incident Command Center, or ICC.

“We’ve reached a level where we’ve seen all of the processes, procedures, and diligence that our amazing Incident Command Center team under the tutelage of Dr. (Col.) Hui Ling Li, base Public Health Officer, and base Fire Chief Jacob King have done a great job in getting us to where we are right now,” said Col. Thomas Sherman, 88th Air Base Wing and installation commander during his May 27 Facebook Live Town Hall.

“As it stands now, we believe we’re at a position where we can move the Incident Command Center in its current form, into more of a warm status,” Sherman said.

Sherman stated the 88th Air Base Wing will now focus on what is called an Information Sharing and Analysis Cell, also called ISAC, coupled with the base Emergency Operations Center, and working directly with the Crisis Action Team.

“In short, we’ve replaced our Incident Command Center – in its large form, with a smaller footprint that will act as a parachute over our Emergency Operations Center and our Crisis Action Team. That level of oversight, situational awareness, and full spectrum analysis is going to continue to take place, but it’s going to be right-sized for the situation that we’re in right now,” Sherman said.

Continued emphasis on preparedness is important as it has been since the beginning of Wright-Patterson’s response efforts, Sherman said, adding that, “Therefore, if we start to see a change in numbers, trends, hospitalization rates, capacity, start to trend negatively, then we know that our team in warm status is ready to reestablish the Incident Command Center, and we can immediately go back to that process.”

Col. Bernard L. Willis II, ISAC Battle Officer, is the lead of the ISAC, which now assumes the role the ICC played in formulation of information and providing it for installation leadership to make decisions. He and ISAC Operations Officer, Kevan Dilworth have been embedded as operations chiefs for the ICC and were making plans to stand up this capability prior to the COVID-19 crisis.

“We have been working on this ISAC construct since last Fall as a pilot project for the Air Force,” Willis said. "Col. Sherman volunteered the 88th Air Base Wing at last year’s I-WEPTAC conference to explore and demonstrate the concept at the request of the CSAF. It is the culmination of Installation Command and Control (IC2) ideas that have been floating around the Air Force for well over 15 years, but have never been brought together,” Willis said.   

“The reason why we’re seeing great progress right now is because of the work that all of you are doing,” said Sherman. “The cases that we’re seeing right now are being reduced and the impact we’re seeing from that reduction and the impact on the workforce is based on the appropriate protocols we’ve been following,” he said.

Stay up to date with the latest COVID-19 guidance and status of Wright-Patterson Air Force Base during its Return to Full Capacity by visiting https://www.wpafb.af.mil/coronavirus/ or Wright-Patterson’s Facebook page at: www.facebook.com/wpafb.