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Public Health Directive #10



SUBJECT:  Public Health Directive #10 (View Original Document)

1.  From the peak of the pandemic in January 2021 we saw a vast improvement in the rate of positive coronavirus disease (COVID) cases, hospital admissions, and deaths as a result of widespread vaccination program implementation. This resulted in a low-point in new cases in June 2021. However, since the vaccination rate has tapered in our local area, and with the emergence of new, more communicable variants, new case rates have increased especially amongst individuals who are not fully vaccinated. The clear disparity in case rates between vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals demonstrates that full vaccinations remain the most effective measure to mitigate the rise in cases.

2.  Vaccines continue to provide protection from severe disease in fully vaccinated individuals. Currently, unvaccinated individuals account for 97% of COVID-related hospital admissions and 99.5% of COVID-related deaths. The regional medical healthcare system is seeing a new increase in hospital and ICU admission, a majority of whom are in unvaccinated individuals. The key metrics used to determine pandemic risk are all trending upward. You can track these metrics, as well as vaccination rates, at https://covidactnow.org/us/california-ca/?s=1602544 and https://covid.cdc.gov/covid-data-tracker/#county-view (recommend Chrome browser). Our top Public Health priority continues to be maximizing immunizations rates across Team Vandenberg as quickly as possible. Every member of this installation plays a role in meeting this critical Public Health goal.

3.  We have issued Public Health Directives since the start of the pandemic in effort to reduce the spread of COVID, safeguard the lives of personnel and their families, and preserve mission readiness. We continue to employ a rigorous medical and legal review process to ensure base policies remain relevant and lawful. Both the Department of Defense (DoD) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently updated their recommendations regarding preventive strategies outlined in DoD mask policy dated 28 July 2021, Updated Mask Guidance for all DoD Installations and Other Facilities.

4.  This Directive is effective immediately, and applies to all military members of Vandenberg SFB regardless of location, as well as civilian employees, dependents, retirees ,contractors, and any persons on the installation for any reason. Public Health Directives 1-9 are hereby rescinded and replaced by this Directive. The following measures are mandatory:

a.  Physical Distancing and Gatherings. Official gatherings will be limited to 100 unvaccinated people indoors. Gatherings at key facilities (Chapel, AAFES, DECA, PCC, Fitness Center, other FSS facilities, such as the base theater) have established procedures with capacities previously coordinated by Public Health. For individuals who are not fully vaccinated, physical distancing rules apply IAW applicable CDC and DoD Force Health protection guidance.

b.  Masks. In accordance with current DoD mask policy, all individuals, regardless of vaccination status, shall wear cloth face coverings or face masks covering their mouth and nose when indoors on Vandenberg SFB. Sq/CCs and Directors are granted the authority to determine and adjudicate how the following exceptions apply to their units and work centers:

i.  when an individual is alone in an office with walls and with a closed door;

ii.  for periods of time when eating and drinking while maintaining distancing in accordance with CDC guidelines and instructions from commanders and supervisors;

iii.  when the mask is required to be lowered briefly for identification or security purposes (e.g., a mask is not required when entering the VSFB security gates);

iv.  when necessary to reasonably accommodate an individual with a disability;

v.  when necessary as part of an approved religious accommodation;

vi.  when underlying health conditions that prohibit the wear or extended wear of a face covering exist and the individual is in possession of medical documentation from a health care provider outlining such a condition and the restrictions the condition places on wear of a face covering;

vii.  when actively participating in physical fitness activities indoors and proper social distancing is maintained;

viii.  when an individual is alone in a vehicle or is sharing the vehicle only with household members;

ix.  when use substantively interferes with the proper wear and use of personal protective equipment necessary for the accomplishment of one's military duties;

x.  when working in Arc Flash, welding, or other NFPA or OSHA-directed activities that dictate specific safety gear to prevent melting or burns;

xi.  when personnel are in primary aircrew positions during critical phases of flight or emergencies; or when using flight crew oxygen equipment;

xii.  when clear or unrestricted visualization of verbal communication are essential to operations;

xiii.  when mask wear could impede the clarity of mission-critical communications (including, but not limited to air traffic control, on-console space or launch operations, emergency response operations);

xiv.  when mask wear could impede the safety of member’s actively involved in mission- required tasks;

xv.  children under two years of age.

c.  Youth (under 12 years). Activities at the CDC, Youth Center, and Library are not limited to size, but masks will be required for all children (age 2 and older) in accordance with national guidelines, and social distancing practices should be implemented in accordance with current CDC guidelines. Youth can participate in outdoor events in accordance gathering restrictions above.

d.  Report Adverse Health Status. Anyone experiencing adverse health conditions must contact their leadership teams and call 805-606-CARE (2273) for medical evaluation and guidance. Failure to comply may increase the risk of coronavirus transmission to others on the installation.

i.  Any individual, vaccinated or unvaccinated, experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 (headache, sore throat, sinus congestion, runny nose, fever of greater than 100.4 °F, cough, shortness of breath, chills, muscle pain, or new loss of taste or smell) must call 805-606-CARE (2273) where they will be directed to the Pandemic Clinic for testing, or to healthcare personnel for further discussion.

ii.  Symptomatic individuals who have been tested for COVID-19 should quarantine pending results and release by an authorized medical authority.

iii.  Any individual who has tested positive for COVID-19, at any location, must contact the Public Health at 805-606-0648 to facilitate disease tracking and disposition.

e.  Travel and Testing. Refer to the current version of Force Health Protection Guidance (Supplement 20) – Department of Defense Guidance for Personnel Traveling During the Coronavirus Disease 2019 Pandemic provides instructions for leave, pass, PCS and TDY travel. Force Health Protection Guidance (Supplement 16) – Department of Defense Guidance for Deployment and Redeployment of Individuals and Units During the Coronavirus Disease 2019 Pandemic provides instructions for deployment related travel.

i.  Unofficial Travel (leave and pass). In accordance with the Secretary of Defense STOP MOVEMENT guidance, all military members must have Sq/CC or Director approval to travel outside the local area. Sq/CCs and Directors have the authority to determine the definition of local area as long as it is consistent with mission requirements and does not contradict AFI 36-3003, Military Leave Program. When approving travel, Sq/CCs and Directors shall conduct a risk assessment using the DAF COVID-19 Travel Risk Assessment Tool and CDC travel guidance: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/travel-during-covid19.html. Unofficial travel may be disapproved based on the risk assessment or mission requirements. While civilian travel cannot be restricted, civilian employees should report to their supervisor and the MCC if they believe they were exposed to COVID-19 during their travel.

ii.  Official Travel – Refer to latest DoD Guidance

iii.  Pre- and Post-Travel Testing. – Refer latest DoD Guidance

f.  Telework. Vaccination efforts and other protective measures have made it relatively safe to return to the workplace and increase focus on mission requirements. However, this does require mask use in accordance with previously stated guidance. Supervisors are encouraged to utilize telework as needed based on mission requirements. Vulnerable civilian employees (as defined by current CDC guidelines) may utilize the reasonable accommodation process with assistance from Employee/Management Relations (805-606-5847).

g.  Close Contacts. The CDC currently defines close contact as being within 6 feet of someone with the virus for a cumulative total of 15 minutes (or more) over a 24-hour period. Consistent with CDC guidance, Public Health will not issue mandatory quarantine orders to fully vaccinated individuals based solely on close contact status or travel.

h.  Follow Public Health Orders. Strict adherence to measures directed by the Public Health Emergency Officer (PHEO) is mandatory. If ordered or directed into quarantined, or isolated status, remain exclusively at your residence or other appropriate domicile, follow any related instructions, self-monitor, report worsening symptoms to your primary care provider, and call 9-1-1 for any medical emergencies. All employees should keep their supervisory chain informed of quarantine status.

5.  This memorandum is directive and will terminate when directed by the SLD 30/CC, in consultation with the PHEO. Any person who refuses to comply or otherwise violates its provisions may be detained and turned over to military or civilian authorities. For military members, violations are punishable under the UCMJ. For all personnel, violations are punishable under the United States Code (USC), to include 18 USC 1001, 18 USC 1382, and 42 USC 271. Additionally, any personnel who fail to adhere to this memorandum or subsequent orders may be subject to debarment (denied access to the installation).

Current as of October 14, 2021