Covid-19 vaccine on Eielson Air Force Base

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Jessica Hooker, a 354th Healthcare Operations Squadron allergy immunizations technician, administers a Covid-19 vaccine on Eielson Air Force Base on March 17. U.S. Air Force/Airman 1st Class Jose Miguel T. Tamondong

Eileson Air Force Base raised the Covid alert status for personnel Monday, after an upswing in infections reported in the greater Fairbanks area and statewide, military officials said.

Eileson’s directive for stronger Covid measures was issued by the 354th Fighter Wing commander, with additional guidance expected soon, said Sgt. Parker Dubois, media relations non-commissioned officer-in-charge.

The Fairbanks North Star Borough along with the rest of Interior Alaska is experiencing a surge in Covid cases. There were 209 new cases reported in the Interior from Sept. 17-19, according to state data.

They include 113 in Fairbanks, 36 in North Pole, and 15 in other Fairbanks North Star Borough communities.

Overall, Alaska is experiencing a spike in infections, with the state ranking third in the nation for daily new Covid cases per capita, the New York Times reported Friday.

But the rate of new cases in the Fairbanks North Star Borough is outpacing other parts of Alaska, according to state data.

At Eielson, the base began operating under Bravo status early Monday, designated when there is an outbreak or heightened risk. Personnel were advised to:

• Practice “strict” hygiene protocols, which include self-quarantines if exposed to the virus, and social distancing.

• Avoid areas in the community of heightened risk for Covid transmission.

• Avoid unnecessary travel, especially to areas reporting an increase in Covid cases.

• Keep a 14-day household supply of food and personal medications available for family members and pets.

Covid policies already in place

Indoor masking policies and a vaccine mandate already are in effect at all military bases in Alaska and across the nation.

But leaders at Fort Wainwright said Monday they do not plan to add more Covid safety protocols in response to the new surge in cases.

“The garrison leadership will continue to monitor the ongoing conditions and adjust if necessary,” Eve A. Baker, public affairs specialist for USAG Alaska, at Fort Wainwright, said Monday.

In Anchorage, Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson declared a public health emergency on Friday.

All personnel at the base were advised to avoid places that do not require masks or social distancing, military officials said.

“Unfortunately, the lack of mitigation measures off-base has resulted in alarmingly high infection rates, hospitalizations and deaths in our community,” said Lt. Gen. David Krumm, commander of the Air Force in Alaska.

Krumm attributed new Covid cases at JBER to “off-base exposure” in the greater community.

Contact Linda F. Hersey at 907-459-7575 or lhersey@newsminer.com. Follow her at twitter.com/FDNMpolitics.

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