DEL CITY, Okla. (KFOR) – Tinker Air Force Base today confirmed that another worker has tested positive for coronavirus, bringing the total up to 4 on base.
“This is our first confirmed case,” said Col. Paul Filcek, 72nd Air Base Wing commander. “The continued safety and well-being of the installation is my top priority. We are working with our base medical staff and off-base health care agencies to ensure we mitigate the effects of COVID-19 using established Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Defense Department guidelines.”
People who fit the CDC’s definition for being at-risk are also allowed to go home on paid leave, but Emily Hannah, whose husband works on base, told KFOR these guidelines ignore people whose family members may be at risk.
“There are a lot of people out there that don’t have enough leave to make sure that they’re safe and not bringing this virus into their homes and potentially killing their family members,” Hannah said.
Aircraft mechanic Travis Sweet opted to stay home for his own health, but he knows that’s a luxury most of his coworkers don’t have.
His team are forced to share headsets everyday, and he fears the sanitizing wipes and alcohol used to wipe down the mouthpieces won’t be enough to protect from the virus, which has been shown to last on surfaces for up to three days.
“I’m not trying to stir up trouble, I know they don’t have a good answer, but please stop sharing those,” Sweet said.
He’s worried about the safety of his coworker and their families.
“I’m the oldest guy on my crew and those are like my children to me,” Sweet said.
An Oklahoma City Air Logistics Complex official released the following statement:
“Our top priority at the Air Force Sustainment Center, and in particular, the Oklahoma City Air Logistics Complex, is to ensure the health and safety of our workforce while we balance mission readiness and our support to national security. We take this responsibility seriously. Now more than ever, strict hygiene in the work place is a focus for our team. Strict hygiene practices include social distancing and hand washing. Employees should not shake hands and all commonly used surfaces are being cleaned routinely. We have several shared high-value items in use head sets. In light of the current pandemic, shared items, such as personal protective head sets, are cleaned prior to use and after return with CDC-approved disinfectant solution.
The safety of our employees, families, and community is the foundation of everything we do. We are working with our base medical staff and off-base health care agencies to ensure we mitigate the effects of COVID-19 using established Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Defense Department guidelines.
The most important thing our teammates can personally control is monitor for symptoms, and if they are feeling sick at all they should not come into work or engage others.
We are committed to provide a safe work environment for our teammates who generate readiness for warfighters and we appreciate their strength and dedication to our mission.”