Commander addresses COVID-19 response in virtual town hall
By Lauren Russell, 66th Air Base Group Public Affairs
/ Published March 17, 2020
HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, MASS. – Leaders and health officials from Hanscom Air Force Base hosted a live, virtual town hall on Facebook to discuss the COVID-19 response here March 16.
Col. Chad Ellsworth, installation commander, declared a public health emergency on base and raised the health protection condition to bravo, putting Hanscom in line with the Greater Boston area. There are currently no confirmed cases on Hanscom.
“This health emergency doesn’t change anything we aren’t already doing on base,” said Ellsworth. “It simply provides our leaders with additional authorities and resources as we respond to a dynamic local situation.”
The Hanscom Crisis Action Team is currently operating at full capacity and working directly with the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency and other state organizations to share information and make smart decisions about the evolving situation, Ellsworth said.
“We all have important missions to accomplish, with warfighters in theater depending on us each and every day,” he said. “We must work to strike the right balance of accomplishing our missions while ensuring the health and safety of all those involved.”
The commander also noted that Hanscom has a webpage dedicated to information about coronavirus-related guidance and facility and service status. Visit www.hanscom.af.mil/coronavirus for updated information.
Dr. (Maj.) James Medeiros, installation public health officer, said the 66th Medical Clinic has shifted to responding to acute care needs, and that all transactions will be by appointment only.
Patients can reach the clinic appointment line at 781-225-6789.
Officials also ask that patients in need of prescription refills call the pharmacy at 781-225-6173 or visit TRICARE online before arriving to pick up.
“We’re trying to decrease the foot traffic to protect our patients and our staff,” said Medeiros. “No matter what you need from the clinic, please call ahead.”
Ellsworth answered previously submitted questions, including child care options for base employees. At this time, the Hanscom child development center will remain open.
“I ask that if you have children in the CDC but are teleworking, that you keep them home,” said Ellsworth. “This allows us to have smaller classrooms and spread them out, so we can protect our children and slow the spread of the virus.”
Officials also said CDC patrons will be credited for unused child care days.
“Please know that every decision our team makes in in the interest of protecting our employees and their families to the maximum extent,” said Ellsworth.