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MacDill AFB raises health alert level as COVID cases rise

On-base dining is limited to take-out only.
Credit: WTSP

TAMPA, Fla. — MacDill Air Force Base is raising the alarm in response to the rising number of COVID-19 cases in the Tampa Bay region and on base.

Citing an 800 percent community-wide jump in new cases – mostly due to the omicron variant, the commander is raising the military installation's health protection condition level. 

The level is being taken from HPCON Bravo+, which indicates moderate community transmission, to HPCON Charlie, which recognizes "sustained" and substantial transmission.

Due to the update, MacDill is further limiting gatherings and limiting dining to take-out only.

"Non-mission essential activities, including promotions and retirements, may be approved by the unit commander, not to exceed 10 people," the base wrote Thursday. "Exceptions for larger gatherings may be granted by the first O-6 in the chain of command."

Previous direction given under HPCON Bravo+ is remaining in place at MacDill, including:

  • Keeping in-person attendance at meetings and mission-essential activities to a minimum 
  • Wearing masks indoors at the gym, except while actively doing cardio or using anaerobic equipment
  • Maintaining social distancing of more than 6 feet and wearing masks while indoors on base
  • Having service members follow quarantine and isolation guidance, as necessary; If somebody is given a "notice of isolation" memorandum, they must stay inside their residence except to visit the doctor.
  • Avoiding social gatherings, whether on or off base, that don't allow for "appropriate health and safety practices"

According to the published U.S. Department of Defense guidelines for all its installations, under HPCON Charlie, military members might expect to see cancellations of more in-person gatherings and restricted travel abilities. Future restrictions could include limits on school and daycare functions, as well as on access to other supplies and services on bases. Additional remote work procedures may be adopted again.

MacDill issued the following guidance specific to its personnel:

If you test positive, you must stay home in isolation for five days regardless of vaccination status. If you have no symptoms, or symptoms go away within that timeframe, you may exit your home. You should keep wearing a mask around other people for an extra five days.

If you were exposed to a person with COVID, you can continue in-person work if you wear a mask around others for 10 days and fit into one of the following categories:

  • Were boosted
  • Finished the two-shot primary series of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine in the last six months
  • Got the first shot of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine in the last two months

* If you develop symptoms after exposure, you are asked to get a test and stay home.

    

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