JBER to end months-long public health emergency declaration Friday

Published: Jan. 28, 2021 at 10:43 AM AKST
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson will end its Public Health Emergency declaration from November, citing a reduction in COVID-19 transmission on base.

Installation Commander Col. Kirsten Aguilar declared the end of the health emergency on Thursday. JBER will move from CHARLIE to BRAVO protection condition on Friday at 5 a.m.

“Before I discuss what this means for our community, I want to begin by thanking each and every member of team JBER for your sacrifices and hard work to help us reduce this sustained community transmission of COVID-19,” Aguilar said in a video update to the JBER community.

PHE Rollback Jan 28th

Team JBER, The Installation Commander has declared an end of the Public Health Emergency and moved the installation to Health Protection Condition BRAVO effective 29 January at 0500. This decision was based on the sustained low number of new positive cases over the last several weeks, the consistently low test positivity rates, as well as JBER’s medical capacity to treat patients, testing supply inventory and the ability to conduct contact tracing. Please visit the installation’s COVID-19 dashboard at the link below to view the new JBER Installation COVID Policy, Q&A addressing the new policy, and additional resources. In addition to the guidance, all personnel must continue to adhere to Federal, State and Local guidance while off the installation. https://www.jber.jb.mil/Coronavirus/

Posted by Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson - JBER on Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Aguilar said the base had steadily reduced COVID-19 cases to the extent that it has sufficient medical capability and testing supplies.

The end of the health emergency declaration means base access has returned to normal operations on Friday. In a release, the base said it expected a surge in visitor center usage and recommended people visit the center after 5 p.m. or visit this link for common access cardholders.

The public health emergency declaration, which was first announced on Nov. 9 and then extended to Jan. 7, also limited the number of family groups that could gather. The end of the declaration means up to three family groups can meet in private gatherings indoors and up to five family groups can meet outdoors.

“Socializing is an important part of being healthy and resilient, and socializing in a COVID responsible manner will protect all of us,” Aguilar said.

The base has also increased the size of official in-person gatherings to no more than 25 people. The end of the declaration also enables unit commanders to increase gathering sizes to up to 40 people as long as COVID-19 mitigation protocols are in place.

In the video message, Aguilar said COVID-19 mitigation protocols are still in place including mask-wearing, good hygiene and staying home when sick.

Masks are to be worn in all public spaces on JBER and shift based flexible schedules will still be used, Aguilar said.

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