KGUN 9 On Your SideNewsCoronavirus


Davis-Monthan considers region’s health in COVID response

"We’re in it together”
Posted at 6:45 PM, Apr 10, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-10 21:59:56-04

TUCSON, Ariz.. - Fighting the Coronavirus is a battle for all of us. KGUN9 had an inside look at how they’re defending against the virus at a place where they’re trained for a strong defense---Davis-Monthan Air Force Base.

Davis-Monthan Air Force Base is a city within a city with thousands of people working toward accomplishing a mission. But how do they do that with another mission on top---protecting against COVID-19?

Some workers at D-M have an especially hard time keeping that six foot distance---like maintainers who may have to come close to work on an aircraft. They’re using protective gear except when there’s a danger it could be pulled into a jet engine intake.

At the base hospital and clinic, no one comes in unless they have the right answer to a series of questions like :“Do you or the person you are accompanying have any of the following symptoms: Like fever, cough or shortness of breath?”

Inside, nurses on a phone bank take calls from people wondering if they should be checked.

If someone has symptoms that justify a test that happens at a drive-up. Because of medical privacy law, this is a simulation.

The base uses a test that sends sterile fluid up in your nose. It flushes out a sample collected for examination.

Once collected, the sample stays sealed as it goes through D-M’s lab, is frozen, then Fed Exed to Wright Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio for analysis.

355th Medical Group commander Colonel Patrick Parsons says results come back in about two days.

Colonel Parsons says the people of the D-M community understand their health can affect the health of our entire community.

“Because, as a community, We all have a responsibility to each other to mitigate the virus transmission, and what we do on the base can affect the community and the local Tucson area, and what the local Tucson area also affects what we do on the base and so we're in it together.”

And because social distancing and wearing protection does require some self discipline, it helps that as a military base D-M comes with discipline built in.

“We're not going to vaccinate our way on this disease for at least 12 to 18 months. we're not going to medicate our way out of this virus for at least six to eight weeks, depending on the results of clinical trials. So it really comes down to our behavior patterns in our culture.