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Travis AFB works to prevent COVID-19 spread, ensure readiness

U.S. Air Force Capt. Sayrah Martin, 60th Inpatient Squadron maternal child flight nurse, reviews patient records March 25, 2020, at Travis Air Force Base, California. The maternal child flight supports labor and delivery and is one of several clinics at David Grant USAF Medical Center that is still operating during the COVID-19 pandemic. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. James Hodgman)

U.S. Air Force Capt. Sayrah Martin, 60th Inpatient Squadron maternal child flight nurse, reviews patient records March 25, 2020, at Travis Air Force Base, California. The maternal child flight supports labor and delivery and is one of several clinics at David Grant USAF Medical Center that is still operating during the COVID-19 pandemic. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. James Hodgman)

Wayne Hennigan, 60th Medical Group Emergency Department registered nurse, cleans an exam room inside David Grant USAF Medical Center March 25, 2020, at Travis Air Force Base, California. The emergency department, which is open 24/7, is one of many services the medical center is providing during the COVID-19 pandemic. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. James Hodgman)

Wayne Hennigan, 60th Medical Group Emergency Department registered nurse, cleans an exam room inside David Grant USAF Medical Center March 25, 2020, at Travis Air Force Base, California. The emergency department, which is open 24/7, is one of many services the medical center is providing during the COVID-19 pandemic. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. James Hodgman)

U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Elmendorf Thomas, 60th Medical Diagnostics and Therapeutics Squadron laboratory technician, reviews patient information after a COVID-19 test was completed inside the David Grant USAF Medical Center laboratory March 25, 2020, at Travis Air Force Base, California. The lab, which supports Air Mobility Command, as well as the Pacific theater, is one of many services the medical center is providing during the COVID-19 pandemic. The medical center has offered COVID-19 testing since March 17. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. James Hodgman)

U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Elmendorf Thomas, 60th Medical Diagnostics and Therapeutics Squadron laboratory technician, reviews patient information after a COVID-19 test was completed inside the David Grant USAF Medical Center laboratory March 25, 2020, at Travis Air Force Base, California. The lab, which supports Air Mobility Command, as well as the Pacific theater, is one of many services the medical center is providing during the COVID-19 pandemic. The medical center has offered COVID-19 testing since March 17. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. James Hodgman)

U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Michael San Jose, 60th Medical Diagnostics and Therapeutics Squadron lab technician, performs antibody titration inside the David Grant USAF Medical Center laboratory March 25, 2020, at Travis Air Force Base, California. The lab, which supports Air Mobility Command, as well as the Pacific theater, is one of many services the medical center is providing during the COVID-19 pandemic. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. James Hodgman)

U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Michael San Jose, 60th Medical Diagnostics and Therapeutics Squadron lab technician, performs antibody titration inside the David Grant USAF Medical Center laboratory March 25, 2020, at Travis Air Force Base, California. The lab, which supports Air Mobility Command, as well as the Pacific theater, is one of many services the medical center is providing during the COVID-19 pandemic. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. James Hodgman)

U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Michael San Jose, 60th Medical Diagnostics and Therapeutics Squadron lab technician, performs antibody titration inside the David Grant USAF Medical Center laboratory March 25, 2020, at Travis Air Force Base, California. The lab, which supports Air Mobility Command, as well as the Pacific theater, is one of many services the medical center is providing during the COVID-19 pandemic. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. James Hodgman)

U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Michael San Jose, 60th Medical Diagnostics and Therapeutics Squadron lab technician, performs antibody titration inside the David Grant USAF Medical Center laboratory March 25, 2020, at Travis Air Force Base, California. The lab, which supports Air Mobility Command, as well as the Pacific theater, is one of many services the medical center is providing during the COVID-19 pandemic. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. James Hodgman)

U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Brittany Campbell, 60th Medical Diagnostics and Therapeutics Squadron lab technician, analyzes a urinalysis sample March 25, 2020, inside the lab at David Grant USAF Medical Center at Travis Air Force Base, California. The lab, which supports Air Mobility Command, as well as the Pacific theater, is one of many services the medical center is providing during the COVID-19 pandemic. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. James Hodgman)

U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Brittany Campbell, 60th Medical Diagnostics and Therapeutics Squadron lab technician, analyzes a urinalysis sample March 25, 2020, inside the lab at David Grant USAF Medical Center at Travis Air Force Base, California. The lab, which supports Air Mobility Command, as well as the Pacific theater, is one of many services the medical center is providing during the COVID-19 pandemic. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. James Hodgman)

U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Brittany Campbell, 60th Medical Diagnostics and Therapeutics Squadron lab technician, prepares urinalysis samples for testing March 25, 2020, inside the lab at David Grant USAF Medical Center at Travis Air Force Base, California. The lab, which supports Air Mobility Command, as well as the Pacific theater, is one of many services the medical center is providing during the COVID-19 pandemic. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. James Hodgman)

U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Brittany Campbell, 60th Medical Diagnostics and Therapeutics Squadron lab technician, prepares urinalysis samples for testing March 25, 2020, inside the lab at David Grant USAF Medical Center at Travis Air Force Base, California. The lab, which supports Air Mobility Command, as well as the Pacific theater, is one of many services the medical center is providing during the COVID-19 pandemic. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. James Hodgman)

U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Lorena Blodgeth, 60th Inpatient Squadron medical technician, demonstrates how to check a baby’s heartbeat March 25, 2020, at Travis Air Force Base, California. Blogdeth works in the Labor and Delivery section of David Grant USAF Medical Center, which is one of many clinics still operating during the COVID-19 pandemic. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. James Hodgman)

U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Lorena Blodgeth, 60th Inpatient Squadron medical technician, demonstrates how to check a baby’s heartbeat March 25, 2020, at Travis Air Force Base, California. Blogdeth works in the Labor and Delivery section of David Grant USAF Medical Center, which is one of many clinics still operating during the COVID-19 pandemic. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. James Hodgman)

Tamra Cummins, 60th Diagnostics and Therapeutics Squadron pharmacy technician, completes a narcotics count inside the Satellite Pharmacy March 25, 2020, at Travis Air Force Base, California. The pharmacy, which is located inside the Base Exchange mini mall, is one of many services the 60th Medical Group is providing during the COVID-19 pandemic. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. James Hodgman)

Tamra Cummins, 60th Diagnostics and Therapeutics Squadron pharmacy technician, completes a narcotics count inside the Satellite Pharmacy March 25, 2020, at Travis Air Force Base, California. The pharmacy, which is located inside the Base Exchange mini mall, is one of many services the 60th Medical Group is providing during the COVID-19 pandemic. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. James Hodgman)

A U.S. Air Force Airman dons personal protective equipment prior to conducting COVID-19 testing March 25, 2020, at Travis Air Force Base, California. The testing location, which is located outside the emergency room of David Grant USAF Medical Center, is one of two sites the base is providing to support COVID-19 testing. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. James Hodgman)
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A U.S. Air Force Airman dons personal protective equipment prior to conducting COVID-19 testing March 25, 2020, at Travis Air Force Base, California. The testing location, which is located outside the emergency room of David Grant USAF Medical Center, is one of two sites the base is providing to support COVID-19 testing. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. James Hodgman)

A U.S. Air Force Airman walks toward a COVID-19 testing site March 25, 2020, at Travis Air Force Base, California. The testing location, which is located outside the emergency room of David Grant USAF Medical Center, is one of two sites the base is providing to support COVID-19 testing. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. James Hodgman)
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A U.S. Air Force Airman walks toward a COVID-19 testing site March 25, 2020, at Travis Air Force Base, California. The testing location, which is located outside the emergency room of David Grant USAF Medical Center, is one of two sites the base is providing to support COVID-19 testing. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. James Hodgman)

A COVID-19 testing site awaits patients March 25, 2020, at Travis Air Force Base, California. The testing location, which is located outside the emergency room of David Grant USAF Medical Center, is one of two sites the base is providing to support COVID-19 testing.  (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. James Hodgman)
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A COVID-19 testing site awaits patients March 25, 2020, at Travis Air Force Base, California. The testing location, which is located outside the emergency room of David Grant USAF Medical Center, is one of two sites the base is providing to support COVID-19 testing. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. James Hodgman)

U.S. Air Force 1st Lt. Michael Grady, 60th Medical Operations Squadron nurse manager, reviews a patient's records inside the Hematology and Oncology Clinic March 25, 2020, at David Grant USAF Medical Center at Travis Air Force Base, California. The clinic, which provides a range of treatments for cancer patients, is one of many services the medical center is providing during the COVID-19 pandemic. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. James Hodgman)
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U.S. Air Force 1st Lt. Michael Grady, 60th Medical Operations Squadron nurse manager, reviews a patient's records inside the Hematology and Oncology Clinic March 25, 2020, at David Grant USAF Medical Center at Travis Air Force Base, California. The clinic, which provides a range of treatments for cancer patients, is one of many services the medical center is providing during the COVID-19 pandemic. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. James Hodgman)

TRAVIS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. – As COVID-19 sweeps across the United States and the world, Travis AFB has taken several actions to prevent further spread of the virus while ensuring readiness.

The 60th Medical Group staff here began planning to respond to COVID-19 and its potential impact on readiness weeks ago when the secretary of defense selected Travis AFB as a location to house quarantined people returning to America from Wuhan, China, to avoid COVID-19 exposure.

“We started deliberate planning in early February when we learned Travis AFB would receive repatriated American citizens,” said Col. Kristen Beals, 60th MDG commander. “We knew that was a Department of Health and Human Services mission, but we developed teams to assess what a COVID-19 response would look like at David Grant USAF Medical Center and the impact it could have at our installation.

“We developed several teams who would screen patients and visitors to DGMC, as well as ensure we could provide force health protection and mission assurance. To ensure those two things, we implemented a number of things to protect the force and screen patients.”

Assessment teams assigned groups of health professionals to screen patients entering the Air Force’s largest medical center, and they implemented personal protective equipment and physical distancing procedures to protect health care providers and customers, Beals said.

Additionally, Team Travis leaders took measures to mitigate the virus’ impact and to maintain the health and safety of service members and their families.    

Col. Jeffrey Nelson, 60th Air Mobility Wing commander, placed the base in Health Protection Condition Charlie March 18, restricted gatherings on base to less than 10 people and limited active-duty Airmen to traveling no more than 150 miles due to the growing spread of COVID-19 in the communities surrounding the base.

The pandemic has also impacted how the medical staff at DGMC provides care, said Beals.

“Routine, outpatient and elective surgeries have been curtailed, and we are leveraging telehealth options to the maximum extent possible,” she said. “This enables our provider teams in the clinics, who are not currently seeing patients face-to-face due to physical distancing, to handle visits over the phone. That’s something we want to continue as Solano County, California, and the president may extend physical distancing measures.”

President Donald Trump extended physical distancing guidelines through April 30 during a press conference March 29. The president also said he would assess the situation at the end of April, but that physical distancing measures could be implemented until June.

While the response to the COVID-19 pandemic has brought numerous changes, Beals said, her team is focused on providing essential services and maintaining military readiness.

“There are certain services we must continue to provide such as cancer treatments, the pharmacy, laboratory, hemodialysis and radiology; all of those services are still available,” she said. “Our emergency department is open; we are still providing urgent care and all of our inpatient wards are open. We are also coordinating surgeries with patients on a case-by-case basis.”

The medical group also established two COVID-19 clinics, one consisting of a series of tents outside the DGMC emergency room and another inside the facility.

“The tents outside the emergency room were constructed the weekend before March 16 in concert with the COVID-19 clinic inside DGMC, and within 48 hours we were receiving patients,” said Capt. Tyler Padgett, 60th MDG Family Health Clinic physician and one of the physicians working in the Travis COVID-19 clinics.

“Our mission is to ensure people are safe and healthy at this base,” said Padgett. “We are creating and implementing plans to keep our Airmen and families safe, whether they’re required to be isolated or quarantined, and we are doing all we can to prevent the spread of COVID-19 while ensuring we can execute our mission.”

One way the medical group is doing that is through screening locations set up across the base including the passenger terminal, satellite pharmacy and child development centers. Hand sanitizer is also now readily available at the entrances of the Base Exchange and commissary.

Implementing telehealth options has also enabled doctors to discuss concerns with patients without placing additional risk on providers and patients alike, Padgett added.

“The family health clinic where I work, is now mainly seeing patients virtually, but still ensuring our Airmen are mission-ready by completing a variety of requirements including preventative health assessments,” Padgett said. 

Preventative health assessments are required periodically for military members to ensure they are fit for duty. Much of the responsibility for completing those assessments falls on DGMC’s Flight Medicine Clinic, which is now, temporarily, located in the dental clinic since the internal COVID-19 clinic now occupies the space the flight medicine clinic once called home.

Over a five day period from March 16 – 20, the Flight Medicine Clinic completed 93 PHAs, 31 annual flight PHAs and processed 20 medical clearances.

“This is a challenging time as we work to maintain readiness while mitigating the risk of spreading COVID-19,” said Maj. Alisha Florence, 60th Aerospace Medicine Squadron flight and operational medicine commander. “We have to project a powerful and ready Air Force not just to our country, but to our enemies as well.”

Anyone who has a concern related to COVID-19 can call the COVID-19 hotline at 707-423-3000, option one.

The Nurse Advice Line is also available at 1-800-874-2273.

The Travis COVID-19 clinics are open Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., as well as Saturday and Sunday, 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. The DGMC emergency room is also open 24/7.

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