66 MDS officials update at-home COVID testing procedures, urge vigilance

  • Published
  • By Lauren Russell
  • 66th Air Base Group Public Affairs

HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. – Base leaders are urging the Hanscom community to remain vigilant about COVID-19 safety precautions this holiday season.

With increased travel over the holidays, 66th Medical Squadron Public Health officials have updated procedures for Hanscom personnel who may test positive for COVID-19 after taking an at-home test.

“If an individual tests positive using a home test, we ask that they schedule a confirmatory test with us or their healthcare provider before reporting their case to Public Health for contract tracing procedures,” said Lt. Col. Ryan Gough, 66 MDS Public Health emergency officer.

Confirmatory tests can be scheduled by calling the Hanscom Clinic appointment line at 781-225-6789. Testing is done Monday through Friday from 9 to 11 a.m.

Personnel who are confirmed positive must isolate for 10 days, regardless of vaccination status or symptoms, beginning from either the day their symptoms began or, if asymptomatic, the day they receive their positive test.

In order to return to work at Hanscom, the individual must complete 10 days of isolation, be fever-free for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medicines, and symptoms must be resolved or significantly better.

Unvaccinated and asymptomatic personnel who are identified as having had close contact with a confirmed COVID-positive individual are recommended to quarantine for at least seven days and be tested as soon as they are identified, and again five days later. If both tests are negative and the individual is still asymptomatic, he or she can leave quarantine and return to their workplace.

Fully vaccinated and asymptomatic personnel confirmed as close contact should be tested between five and seven days later to confirm a diagnosis. These personnel do not need to quarantine unless they become symptomatic or are confirmed positive.

An individual is considered having had close contact if they were within six feet of a confirmed COVID-positive individual for at least 15 minutes over a 24-hour period, regardless of masking.  

Symptomatic individuals, regardless of negative testing, are encouraged to stay home until their symptoms resolve.

Currently at Hanscom, all federal employees, onsite contractors and visitors are required to wear a facial covering indoors regardless of their vaccination status. Exceptions to this policy include personnel in their own homes, or alone in a fully walled-off office with doors closed.

Installation policy also requires proof of COVID vaccination or a negative COVID test for some base access.

Gough also emphasized the importance of vaccine booster doses.

“We recommend those who have gone more than six months since completing their initial vaccine doses should receive the booster shot to keep their immunity from dropping during the ongoing seasonal spike,” he said.

COVID vaccines and booster doses are available at the Immunization Clinic here Monday through Friday from 1 to 3 p.m. on a walk-in basis. Additional information and updates can be found at www.Hanscom.af.mil/Coronavirus.

The clinic will be closed Dec. 24 and 31. A limited amount of vaccines and boosters will be offered Dec. 27-28. Normal operations will resume Jan. 4.