OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Tinker Air Force Base is elevating its response to COVID-19, amid a surge brought on by the highly transmissible BA.5 variant.

The base was elevated to Health Protection Condition (HPCON) Charlie.

“The primary focus is the health, safety, and well-being of all personnel and their families so we can accomplish our wartime mission each and every day,” Tinker officials said. “While we have made great strides in this fight against COVID-19, we must remain dedicated, vigilant, and flexible.”

The Deputy Secretary of Defense ordered that all military members, federal employees, onsite contractor employees and visitors, regardless of their vaccination status, wear a mask indoors in areas of substantial or high community COVID transmission on installations and in other facilities owned, leased or otherwise controlled by the Department of Defense, according to Tinker officials.

Tinker is taking the following measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19:

  • MASK WEAR REQUIREMENTS: Masks and/or facial coverings must fit snugly to the face to cover both the nose and mouth and conform to all current guidance from the CDC and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
  • MASS GATHERINGS: All unit commanders must obtain a risk assessment from Under Secretary of the Air Force prior to holding any gathering with more than 49 individuals.
  • UNVACCINATED: Follow all mitigation measures applicable to not-fully-vaccinated employees. Entry into the workspace requires a negative COVID-19 test performed within the previous 72 hours. Entry is valid for 7 days from the date of the test. Testing will commence on Monday, or at the unit commander’s convenience.

Go to www.tinker.af.mil/coronavirus/ for more information on Tinker’s COVID-19 policies.