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Robins leadership go live to discuss COVID-19

Col. Brian Moore, Robins Installation Commander, hosted his Robins Proud Forum, March 18, 2020, to address the Coronavirus Disease 2019 and how it is affecting operations at Robins Air Force Base, Georgia. He was joined by Chief Master Sgt. Timothy Wieser, 78th Air Base Wing command chief, and Col. Maureen Farrell, 78th Medical Group commander. (U.S. Air Force video by Paul Wenzel)

ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. --

In an effort to address Team Robins concerns, base leadership, along with directors from medical, force support and communications, conducted a Facebook Live town hall on Wednesday, March 18.

For his Robins Proud forum, held as a virtual town hall, Col. Brian Moore, Robins Installation Commander, spoke to Team Robins members, their families and retirees about how Coronavirus Disease 2019, more commonly known as COVID-19, has impacted Robins Air Force Base, and what the installation has been doing to combat the spread of the virus to the base.

“Thank you for your service. Thank you for taking care of each other. And thank you for taking care your families,” said Moore. “Team Robins will get through this together.

Moore explained the priorities of Team Robins during these times.

“There are two priorities,” he said. “Those priorities are that, one, to take care of our people and their families. That’s Team Robins Airmen with a big “A” and the members of this base, whether it’s active duty, guard, reserve, civilian Airmen or their families.

“The next primary priority, which we need to continue to center and focus on, is taking care of the mission,” he continued. “We have 54 mission partners on this base. Our job is to make sure we can sustain the industrial base through these trying times as well as take care of the success of those mission partners so that they can effectively and efficiently get through their operational requirements. Also, as always, we need to continue to be ready to deploy Airmen at a moment’s notice. We need to be fit to fight. We need to be mentally, socially, physically and spiritually ready to do that and deploy when needed.”

As cases of COVID-19 appear in Middle Georgia, there are not any known cases on the installation. Robins has elevated its Health Protection Condition – HPCON – to BRAVO, meaning an enhanced set of procedures will be taken to limit the exposure and spread of the virus.

Several questions came in before and during the live town hall, ranging from closing several facilities on base, teleworking from home, different types of leave available for employees, Child Development Center availability and who will be required to be at work if conditions worsen.

To note, since this town hall, there has been a change in policy regarding high-risk members of Team Robins. Members who are 65 years of age or older, or have underlying health conditions, will be sent home on weather and safety leave. Others will be asked to telework where possible. Each Team Robins member needs to work directly with their supervisor and unit chain of command.

“Let me just say, supervisors and commanders are making tough decisions,” Moore said. “They’re empowered, and we will continue to work with the higher headquarters to work through the policies, such as admin leave and special circumstances. We’ll continue to work through those and ensure supervisors and commanders have the right policies in place to make those decisions.”

Chief Master Sgt. Timothy Wieser, 78th Air Base Wing command chief, echoed some of Moore’s comments and added that people need to look out for one another.

“Always start with compassion and end with compassion. We have individuals on this installation who have family members all over the world. They’ve got a lot on their minds, so we need to start with compassion, get to know your people, make sure they’re being take care of.”

He also reminded Team Robins that they need to keep the lines of communication open within their chains of command.

“Have candor up the chain, down the chain and laterally on the chain,” he said. “Do not suffer in silence. Run your issues up the chain and we will take care of you.”

Col. Maureen Farrell, 78th Medical Group commander, spoke to how the 78th MDG is prepared to tackle COVID-19 here on the installation.

“I want to rest assure everyone that the 78th Medical Group is prepared to respond to the current COVID-19 outbreak,” said Farrell. “Our folks take the health and safety of Team Robins very, very seriously and it’s our top priority. Please understand that our folks have the training, the medical equipment and the plans to take care of this matter to help.”

The Medical Clinic will be responding to urgent care needs, and all transactions will be by appointment only. 78th Medical Group beneficiaries can reach the clinic appointment line at (478) 327-7850. Prescriptions can be filled at the 78th MDG Pharmacy by calling (478) 327-8150 or using TRICARE Online.

Non-beneficiaries are encouraged to call their primary care doctor if they think they have been exposed to COVID-19 and develop a fever along with other symptoms like a cough or difficulty breathing. The Georgia Department of Public Health has also created a COVID-19 hotline that may be reached at (844) 442-2681.

More information on COVID-19 and Robins Air Force Base can be found at www.robins.af.mil/coronavirus.

After answering some questions that were presented before the forum and then taking some presented during the forum, Moore closed the town hall by thanking Team Robins members for their service and reminding them what their service means.

“Thank you for serving,” he said. “Your service here, in this capacity, is protecting our country, your families and our freedoms by creating the stability our country needs. And it’s protecting Robins Air Force Base. We need to ‘flatten the curve.’ We need to make sure we’re addressing this formidable adversary with the right tactics, techniques and procedures to win. I ask for everybody to hold each other accountable for those CDC measures and the health protection conditions that we have, and that will allow all of you to accomplish our mission as our nation needs us.”