@charset "utf-8"; /* CSS Document */ p { font-family: "Comic Sans MS", sans-serif; font-size: 20pt;} blockquote { width: 100%; font-size: 18pt; font-style: italic; font-family: 'Comic Sans MS', sans-serif; margin: 10px 10px 10px 10px; padding: 10px; } h1 { h1 class="title"; font-size: 14pt; margin-bottom: 5px; margin-top: 0; line-height: 1.2; font-family: 'Comic Sans MS', Arial, sans-serif; color:#000000; text-transform: uppercase;} .da_body h1 { font-size: 40px; margin-bottom: 5px;margin-top:0; line-height: 1.2; font-family: 'Comic Sans MS', Arial, sans-serif; color: #123D63}

HomeNewsArticle Display

19th AW Public Health initiative: COVID-19 C2 cell

two women sitting in a room surrounded by computers collecting COVID-19 data

Airmen from the Public Health Operations Center collect information to help members across Team Little Rock mitigate the spread of COVID-19 at Little Rock Air Force Base, Arkansas, Oct. 2, 2020. The 19th Airlift Wing stood up the PHOC to serve as the primary command and control node for the installation amidst the ongoing Public Health Emergency. The PHOC's concerted efforts to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 has allowed the 19 AW to return 95% of the workforce to base with very limited impact, while keeping in telework status those that either meet or live with someone who meets CDC criteria for increased risk. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Mariam K. Springs)

LITTLE ROCK AIR FORCE BASE, Ark. -- Since March, when the effects of COVID-19 started to be felt in the United States, Little Rock Air Force Base's priority has been to protect the installation's service members, their families, DOD civilians and contractors, while continuing the mission of providing uninterrupted agile combat airlift around the world. 

From the onset of the pandemic, the central nerve center of LRAFB's efforts to navigate and operate within a COVID-19 environment has rested in the hands of one team: The Public Health Operations Center, better known locally as the PHOC.

The 19th Airlift Wing stood up the PHOC to serve as the primary command and control node for the installation amidst the ongoing Public Health Emergency.

The cross-functional team of medical professionals and representatives from the 19th AW collect medical, DOD, Air Force, state and local guidance, analyze it and then provide it to base leadership for course-of-action decision making.

Their work has been instrumental in executing preventative measures such as facility access screening, sanitization supply requisition and distribution, disinfection guidance, quarantine and isolation guidance, contact tracing, and public messaging, which has helped prevent the spread of the virus.

"Our overall mission is to develop, implement and standardize strategies and procedures across the installation to minimize the spread of the coronavirus," said Maj. (Dr.) Christyn Beal Randolph, the Public Health Emergency Officer. "Because we have an organized structure in place, we can confidently provide our decision-makers with recommended actions to take, where our mission as Little Rock Air Force Base, is still achievable and the risk of spreading infection is minimized as much as possible."

What is oftentimes the case during a crisis scenario, the overwhelming challenge the PHOC has sought to address is effective information dissemination in an environment where information changes so rapidly.

"The COVID environment is constantly evolving," said Capt. Meghan Dailey, the COVID cell medical director. "Without a centralized COVID focal point, you would never achieve order amidst the chaos. We realized early on that we needed a hub where information could funnel through and back out so that the entire installation was on the same page moving forward."

In addition to the successes achieved via the PHOC's uniformed communication strategy, LRAFB has also seen considerable success in flattening the curve because of the organization's forward-leaning approach concerning contact tracing.

Contact tracing is the methodical process that identifies potential close contacts during infectious periods, defined as 48 hours before symptom onset.  It's a process that has been used by health departments for years to help stop the spread of infectious diseases and avoid outbreaks.

Dailey said the PHOC has remained aggressive and proactive in their contact tracing efforts.

"Contact tracing is a crucial part of good public health," she said. "It enables us to determine where there might be an increased risk of a COVID-19 outbreak. That gives an early alert to people who may have been exposed so they can take precautions and not further spread the disease. This also gives our commanders the information they need to make educated and informed decisions to mitigate risk and preserve the health of the force."

The PHOC's concerted efforts to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 has allowed the 19 AW to return 95% of the workforce to base with very limited impact, while keeping in telework status those that either meet or live with someone who meets CDC criteria for increased risk.

Moreover, they've enabled the wing's ability to sustain airlift mission capabilities throughout the pandemic, with the wing consistently achieving over 110% of pre-COVID flight training requirements.

"Little Rock Air Force Base has a big mission," Dailey said. "Bottom line, we exist to ensure that our installation is healthy and ready to execute airlift on our nation's behalf."

PHOC officials also added that by effectively managing the base population, they are directly contributing to the bigger picture fight against COVID-19.

"The lower we can keep our cases associated with the base, the lower Arkansas' death rate is going to be," Beal Randolph said. "By keeping a handle on our population, we're helping to mitigate the risk to the greater Arkansas populous from not only getting sick, but more importantly, from dying."

Col. John Schutte, the 19 AW and installation commander, said that LRAFB’s ability to survive, operate, and even thrive within the on-going pandemic is a testament to the consolidated operations center model created at the outset of the public health emergency. 

“We have settled in for the long fight against COVID-19,” Schutte said. “The PHOC serves as the central node for command and control as we manage risk to both mission and force.  All of Team Little Rock owes our PHOC workers a debt of gratitude as they work tirelessly to combat this invisible enemy.  Their efforts represent a best practice model for others to emulate, as we as a force, remain ready to answer our nation’s call.”

USAF Comments Policy
If you wish to comment, use the text box below. AF reserves the right to modify this policy at any time.

This is a moderated forum. That means all comments will be reviewed before posting. In addition, we expect that participants will treat each other, as well as our agency and our employees, with respect. We will not post comments that contain abusive or vulgar language, spam, hate speech, personal attacks, violate EEO policy, are offensive to other or similar content. We will not post comments that are spam, are clearly "off topic", promote services or products, infringe copyright protected material, or contain any links that don't contribute to the discussion. Comments that make unsupported accusations will also not be posted. The AF and the AF alone will make a determination as to which comments will be posted. Any references to commercial entities, products, services, or other non-governmental organizations or individuals that remain on the site are provided solely for the information of individuals using this page. These references are not intended to reflect the opinion of the AF, DoD, the United States, or its officers or employees concerning the significance, priority, or importance to be given the referenced entity, product, service, or organization. Such references are not an official or personal endorsement of any product, person, or service, and may not be quoted or reproduced for the purpose of stating or implying AF endorsement or approval of any product, person, or service.

Any comments that report criminal activity including: suicidal behaviour or sexual assault will be reported to appropriate authorities including OSI. This forum is not:

  • This forum is not to be used to report criminal activity. If you have information for law enforcement, please contact OSI or your local police agency.
  • Do not submit unsolicited proposals, or other business ideas or inquiries to this forum. This site is not to be used for contracting or commercial business.
  • This forum may not be used for the submission of any claim, demand, informal or formal complaint, or any other form of legal and/or administrative notice or process, or for the exhaustion of any legal and/or administrative remedy.

AF does not guarantee or warrant that any information posted by individuals on this forum is correct, and disclaims any liability for any loss or damage resulting from reliance on any such information. AF may not be able to verify, does not warrant or guarantee, and assumes no liability for anything posted on this website by any other person. AF does not endorse, support or otherwise promote any private or commercial entity or the information, products or services contained on those websites that may be reached through links on our website.

Members of the media are asked to send questions to the public affairs through their normal channels and to refrain from submitting questions here as comments. Reporter questions will not be posted. We recognize that the Web is a 24/7 medium, and your comments are welcome at any time. However, given the need to manage federal resources, moderating and posting of comments will occur during regular business hours Monday through Friday. Comments submitted after hours or on weekends will be read and posted as early as possible; in most cases, this means the next business day.

For the benefit of robust discussion, we ask that comments remain "on-topic." This means that comments will be posted only as it relates to the topic that is being discussed within the blog post. The views expressed on the site by non-federal commentators do not necessarily reflect the official views of the AF or the Federal Government.

To protect your own privacy and the privacy of others, please do not include personally identifiable information, such as name, Social Security number, DoD ID number, OSI Case number, phone numbers or email addresses in the body of your comment. If you do voluntarily include personally identifiable information in your comment, such as your name, that comment may or may not be posted on the page. If your comment is posted, your name will not be redacted or removed. In no circumstances will comments be posted that contain Social Security numbers, DoD ID numbers, OSI case numbers, addresses, email address or phone numbers. The default for the posting of comments is "anonymous", but if you opt not to, any information, including your login name, may be displayed on our site.

Thank you for taking the time to read this comment policy. We encourage your participation in our discussion and look forward to an active exchange of ideas.