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Wright-Patterson Air Force Base declares public health emergency, closes all but 3 gates

Wright-Patterson Air Force Base (Air Force/Released)

Wright-Patterson Air Force Base has declared a state of emergency, with a focus on a mission-essential footing and a new entry regimen, the commander of the 88th Air Base Wing said Monday evening.

The move does not mean the base is closing, said Col Thomas Sherman in a video on social media.

“Things are going to be changing here as we collectively fight thing,” Sherman said.

The base will conduct itself as a “mission-essential work environment, while maintaining important base-essential services that need to maintained to sustain life, health and sustenance.”

Mission-essential personnel will focus on their Air Force missions while minimizing their footprint to what is absolutely necessary at the base.

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“We are going to maintain our very robust telework network,” Sherman said. “Our commanders are have been empowered with the ability to work with civilian personnel issues, such as leave, such as wellness leave and efforts that need to go to maintain our communities.”

Gate 1A, the commissary gate, will remain open, as will gate 12A, the gate leading to Air Force Materiel Command headquarters. Gate 19B, the National Road gate, will also remain open.

The commissary, base exchange and base gas stations will stay open.

All other gates will be closed.

Wright-Patterson Medical Center will further focus on emergency care and urgent care only. Care that will continue includes pregnancy and cancer care, infancy and other critical care that providers feel should be continued. Other care will be provided over the telephone, Sherman said.

“This was not a decision that was made lightly,” Sherman said.

The base is the state’s largest single-site employer, with some 30,000 military and civilian employees on a typical work day.

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© 2020 the Dayton Daily News