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JBSA raises Health Protection Condition level to CHARLIE

By Lori A. Bultman | 502nd Air Base Wing Public Affairs | March 24, 2020

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO, Texas —

In response to the increased number of positive COVID-19 cases on local military installations and cases of community transmission in the local area, the 502d Air Base Wing and Joint Base San Antonio commander increased the Health Protection Condition to Charlie, or HPCON C, effective March 21, 2020.

Health Protection Condition Charlie takes effect when there is a substantial threat of disease to the JBSA community and it allows the installation commander to direct additional measures to protect service members, families, and the community. 

“We are posturing the installation to ensure the health and safety of our workforce and our families,” said Brig. Gen. Laura Lenderman, 502nd ABW and JBSA commander. “Defense Support of Civil Authorities, cyber defense, Basic Military Training (BMT), technical training, flying training, and many other JBSA missions remain vital to our ability to defend the nation and renew the force.

“Following HPCON Charlie guidance helps mitigate the spread of COVID-19 so that we can ‘flatten the curve,’” said Col. Cecilia Sessions, 59th Medical Wing Staff Agency commander and alternate JBSA Public Health Emergency Officer. “Slowing the spread of this disease allows our healthcare system to devote personnel and resources to seriously ill members of the community, while our healthier members manage milder symptoms at home.”

At this time, the following measures should be taken by JBSA personnel. 

• JBSA non-critical personnel are encouraged to telework with the approval of management to reduce and prevent transmission of COVID-19.

• Continue to practice strict hygiene measures in accordance with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines listed at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prepare/prevention.html, such as frequently washing and/or sanitizing hands; wiping common-use items with disinfectant; avoid touching and close contact; covering mouths and noses with a tissue or sleeve when coughing or sneezing; and staying home when sick.

• Practice social distancing and refrain from physical contact, such as hand shaking, fist bumps, etc. Social gatherings and/or meetings defined as more than 10 people have been suspended, unless they are mission-essential as directed by your unit commander. In such cases, group size should be limited to the smallest practical and include proper social distancing within 6 feet.

• If you know you have been exposed to COVID-19, self-quarantine, call ahead to alert medical personnel, and contact your chain of command for further guidance.

“As the situation evolves, services will change to meet our mission’s needs,” said Chief Master Sergeant Chris Lantagne, 502nd ABW and JBSA Command Chief Master Sergeant.

“The commissary will remain open and AAFES food establishments will be takeout and drive-thru only,” Lantagne added. “Child and youth services will remain open to support direct mission readiness. We ask where possible, supervisors allow employees to telework and request personnel when able keep their children at home. Military and civilian support will continue as needed by appointments and through virtual appointments. Our 24-hour gates will remain open, along with a few others, based on mission partner needs. Please visit the JBSA.mil website at https://jbsa.dod.afpims.mil/Information/CDC-Novel-Coronavirus-Response-Support/ for more information.”

If medical care is needed, be aware that Wilford Hall Ambulatory Surgical Center, Brooke Army Medical Center and the JBSA-Randolph Clinic have designated entry points. 

If you develop flu-like symptoms, with fever and a cough or shortness of breath, and may have had contact with a person who has COVID-19, or had recent travel to countries considered high-risk, contact your health care provider before seeking medical care to prevent possible transmission within health care settings.

If you are normally seen at Wilford Hall, first call the TRICARE nurse advice line at 1-800-874-2273 or the Wilford Hall appointment line at 707-423-3000 prior to visiting the facility. 

As of March 24, there are 20 confirmed COVID-19 cases on JBSA, and all personnel should continue to stay ready and informed by checking CDC updates at https://tools.cdc.gov/campaignproxyservice/subscriptions.aspx, continuing regular preparedness activities and following the direction of your chain of command.

Additionally, service members and their families should follow U.S. State Department at https://travel.state.gov/content/travel.html  and Geographic Combatant Command guidance with regard to travel restrictions.

As the situation continues to develop, JBSA leadership will continue to provide additional information on HPCON Charlie and its impact on JBSA.

For additional information, visit:

JBSA COVID-19 Info: https://www.jbsa.mil/Information/CDC-Novel-Coronavirus-Response-Support/ 

COVID-19 Info: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/index.html

What the U.S. Government is Doing: https://www.usa.gov/coronavirus 

Joint Base San Antonio unifies 11 geographically distinct locations, including JBSA-Fort Sam Houston, JBSA-Lackland, JBSA-Randolph and JBSA-Camp Bullis. The 8,000-person 502nd Air Base Wing executes 49 installation support functions to enable the largest joint base in the Department of Defense, consisting of 266 mission partners, 80,000 full-time personnel and a local community of more than 250,000 retirees.