On Jan. 30, 2020, the World Health Organization declared a public health emergency of international concern for the 2019 novel coronavirus, or COVID-19. On Jan. 31, 2020, the secretary of Health and Human Services declared a public health emergency in the United States and announced new measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The current epidemic, which originated in mainland China, has demonstrated the capacity of COVID-19 to spread globally. While supporting other government agencies’ response to the COVID-19 threat, the Department of the Air Force is responding appropriately to protect the health of the force and maintain operational readiness.
This is a reminder that IAW Department of Defense Updated Mask Guidance, dated 28 July 2021, all service members, federal employees, onsite contractor employees, and visitors, regardless of vaccination status, are required to wear a mask while indoors on Fairchild AFB.
We have seen a recent surge in COVID-19 cases due to the highly transmissible Delta variant. Fairchild AFB, as a part of Spokane County, is currently within a high community transmission area. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) data suggest the Delta variant might cause more severe illness than previous strains in unvaccinated persons. Prevention strategies, such as proper mask wear and social distancing, help slow the transmission of this variant and keep our community safe.
Fairchild AFB remains in HPCON BRAVO+ and in a declared Public Health Emergency. This memorandum highlights updates to our local protocols in the face of recent guidance.
Mask Wear. Masks are required, regardless of vaccination status, while indoors at Fairchild AFB. Mask-wear is encouraged outside. Masks should be worn properly, by fitting snugly against the sides of your face, and must cover your nose and mouth. Exceptions: Masks may be taken off indoors when an individual is alone in an office with floor-to-ceiling walls with a closed door; for brief periods of time when eating and drinking; and when the mask is required to be lowered briefly for identification or security purposes.
Physical Distancing. All individuals on Fairchild AFB will practice physical distancing, specifically by staying 6 feet (about 2 arm lengths) from other individuals who are not from an individual’s household to the maximum extent possible, mission permitting. Physical distancing should be practiced in addition to other mitigation procedures; such as proper mask-wear, refraining from touching your face with unwashed hands, and frequently washing your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
Updated Return to Work Policy/Flowchart. All military members must continue to self monitor for potential symptoms daily and comply with the current “Return to Work” (RTW) Guide, dated 27 Aug 21 (Attachment 1). Personnel are restricted from their primary duty location if symptoms or exposure warrant quarantine or isolation. Members who are restricted from their primary duty location may be required to telework from their alternate duty location (e.g., residence) to the maximum extent feasible and telework with children in the household is permissible. If a member of your household tests positive for COVID-19 or is symptomatic, you must follow the “close contact” guidance on the RTW Guide.
Fitness Center. Masks are required throughout the fitness center, and while using fitness center equipment. The only excepted activities are active utilization of the fitness center pool, while showering in the locker rooms, and while actively performing fitness testing under the guidance of the fitness assessment cell.
Washington State Guidance. Please be advised of Washington State Governor Jay Inslee’s mask mandate when visiting local establishments outside of Fairchild AFB. Effective23 August 2021, Governor Inslee requires every person in Washington State to wear a face covering that covers their nose and mouth when they are in a place where any person from outside their household is present or in a place that is generally accessible to any person from outside their household. This does not apply when outdoors.
Mandatory Immunizations. The COVID vaccination is mandatory for all members under DoD authority on active duty or in the Ready Reserve, including the National Guard. If you are not yet vaccinated, and are required to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, you will receive guidance from your command on where and when to do so. I cannot stress enough the importance of its benefits. Full vaccination is 80% effective in preventing symptoms and 94%effective in preventing hospitalization after exposure to the Delta variant. If you have any questions about its efficacy and impact, please reach out to your healthcare provider. If you receive your vaccination from an off-base provider, please bring proof of your vaccination to Immunizations to update your records.
COVID-19 remains a significant challenge on maintaining our readiness. Please keep the health and safety of yourself, your family, and your community forefront in your mind. Your actions are paramount to counter COVID-19. I am confident that together, we will set the example for all others to follow—we are Fame’s Favored Few!
CDC guidance and definitions of low, moderate, substantial, and high spread can be found at: https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/70/wr/pdfs/mm7030e2-H.pdf.
Data on levels of community transmission can be found at the CDC COVID Data Tracker website found at: https://covid.cdc.gov/covid-data-tracker/.
Click image for magnified view.
The Patient Entrance (north side of the building) will continue to be a single point-of-entry into the facility from the parking lot will be accessible via McFarlane Road (see the below map for reference). Upon entering the building, beneficiaries will be asked COVID screening questions. Members who have symptoms of COVID will not be allowed to enter the building, but they will be asked to call our Respiratory Clinic for additional screening where a medical authority will determine if they need an appointment for testing.
Members who have an appointment in the Respiratory Clinic WILL NOT enter the building through the Patient Entrance on the north side of the building. Signage will direct patients to the Respiratory Clinic parking on the south side of the building. Signs located at the parking stalls will provide further instructions.
As a reminder, we are no longer doing walk-in COVID testing. ALL beneficiaries require an appointment for testing, which can be obtained by calling 509-247-2361. Appointment availability varies, but we are currently able to see nearly all patients within 24-36 hours.
Center for Disease Control
U.S. Government Resources
Air Force COVID-19 info
Spokane Regional Health District
Fairchild AFB TRICARE Information
Call the Washington State Department of Health at 1-800-525-0127, press #.
Get the latest information from the CDC:
For information about the COVID-19 Vaccine, visit our Fairchild TRICARE site:
Call the 92nd MDG hotline at (509) 247-2580