Local area expanded to San Antonio, San Angelo, Big Bend National Park

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Marco A. Gomez
  • 47th Flying Training Wing Public Affairs

LAUGHLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Texas – Effective June 8, 2020, the local area for Laughlin Air Force Base, Texas, is now expanded to include San Antonio, San Angelo and Big Bend National Park, announced Col. Lee Gentile, 47th Flying Training Wing commander, today at Laughlin.

The decision came after Laughlin leadership lowered the previous Health Protection Condition from ’Charlie’ to ‘Bravo’ and analyzed case management and city guidance for each area. Although some restrictions have been scaled back, preventative measures still remain in place.

The Department of Defense has transitioned to a condition-based, phased approach to personnel movement and travel. The decision follows a comprehensive assessment based on risk management, operational need and logistical support. Protecting our service members, civilians, and families while safeguarding our national security capabilities remains a top priority.

Members staying with family and friends will have to be screened prior to departing from Laughlin. Questions include:

  • Has anyone in the household experienced COVID-19 symptoms?
  • Did anyone in the household have close contact with a person who is positive for COVID-19?
  • Has anyone in the household been tested for COVID-19?
  • Has anyone in the household had contact/visitors in the last 14 days who arrived from outside Laughlin’s local area?

“The local area screener is used to identify households which recently had visitors from outside of Laughlin’s newly expanded local area,” said Capt. (Dr.) Susan Ching, 47th Flying Training Wing public health emergency officer. “This decision tree will hopefully limit Laughlin members from being potentially exposed to COVID-19 by someone who had visitors who traveled from higher-risk areas.”

Civilian personnel are not restricted from taking personal leave outside the local area. Supervisors may not deny personal leave solely because an employee is traveling outside of the local area.

Although travel outside the newly defined local area is unauthorized, waivers may still be granted on a case-by-case basis where travel is determined to be mission essential, necessary humanitarian reasons or warranted due to extreme hardship. Waivers must be coordinated between gaining and losing organizations.

“Since this pandemic started three months ago, you have done an amazing job preparing to live and work with COVID-19 on the base and in the community,” said Gentile. “We’re prepared to go back to HPCON Charlie, but that will only happen if we feel we cannot contain the virus. Leaders at all levels are continually monitoring and assessing the threat of COVID-19 at Laughlin and in the community.”

Members are encouraged to follow CDC guidelines while operating out and about in the local area.  Visit www.cdc.gov for the most up do date guidelines.