Senior leaders establish, outline plans for joint base public health

OUR MISSION: To protect the force, preserve readiness and mitigate the risk of transmission among personnel.

Ever since late January when the Secretary of Health and Human Services, Alex Azar declared a public health emergency in the United States, major commands throughout the Army and the military in general have been planning ways to protect their respective populations responsibly, while continuing the mission.

At Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall, a specific operations order has been established to outline that plan and to assure the workforce, military and civilian, that measures are in place that follow senior health officials’ guidelines to maintain public health. That OPORD, which was distributed Monday, outlined to each office what their responsibilities are for transmission risk mitigation.

In addition, the safety office has written a cleaning plan, in keeping with guidelines from the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, and nonessential employees have been given the option to telework.

The commanding general, U.S. Army Military District of Washington, Maj. Gen. Omar Jones VI, has invoked Health Protection Condition Bravo, which mandates specific measures military and civilian personnel to employ to ensure continued transmission deterrence.

“I have taken these precautionary measures to protect the health of the force and maintain operational readiness,” Jones said in a press release. “The command will continue to evaluate day-to-day operations within the National Capital Region and make decisions to ensure the safety of all of our Soldiers, family members and civilian personnel.”

Avoid unnecessary contact with others, such as shaking hands and hugging. Current guidance recommends keeping a 6-foot distance between people.

• Avoid unnecessary travel, especially to areas known to be experiencing active disease transmission.

• Ensure supplies of food, medication and other items needed for babies and pets are available to last at least 14 days.

• Prepare for travel restrictions and cancellation of public gatherings, such as school, religious services, and other community activities; make alternative arrangements for childcare. Closed and cancelled services at JBM-HH and the surrounding community are listed on Page 12.

• Observe local guidance on movement restrictions and access requirements for military installations.

Seek guidance from employers and unit leaders about changes to work practices (e.g., telework) and training events.

• Comply with medical orders for self-isolation or quarantine.

These are the HPCON Alpha measures you should continue to take:

Routinely clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

• If you are sick, call your medical provider for instructions on receiving care before going to the clinic.

• Stay informed by routinely checking reliable sources of information such as the CDC and your local public health agencies.

You should also continue to take everyday actions to stop the spread of germs:

Avoid close contact with people who are sick.

• Wash your hands often and for at least 20 seconds with soap and water.

• Cover your cough/sneeze with a tissue, then throw it in the trash; cough/sneeze into your elbow if tissues are unavailable.

• Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.

• Ensure all immunizations are up to date, including your seasonal flu shot.

• Stay home if you are sick, and avoid close contact with Family members and pets.

• Create an emergency preparedness kit.

Phil Santee, the JBM-HH safety chief, published a comprehensive list of best practices in his cleaning plan.

“While not mandatory, they are strongly encouraged to help minimize and prevent the spread of viral contamination throughout the JBM-HH community,” he said.

Routine Environmental Cleaning:

Noncustomer service or sales point work locations (administrative/office locations): All personnel shall clean all frequently touched surfaces in JBM-HH workplaces, such as workstations, countertops and doorknobs at least two times a day.

Public service and sales point locations: In addition to routine cleaning procedures, these locations, at a minimum shall clean all high touch points three times throughout the day and conduct a thorough facility cleaning prior to opening and after closing for business every day. Beginning and end of day cleanings shall focus on all high touch points, including but not limited to the following:

• Cash registers, pin pads, keyboards, and all sides of counter/desk surfaces.

• Merchandise areas such as baskets, carts, belts, and other areas where customers regularly place personal items or products.

• All doors, handles, handrails, phones, keyboards, dispensers, faucets, light switches, buttons, touch screens, toilet handles and seats and any other high contact areas identified within each operating area.

• Floors will be mopped using a bleach water solution.

Leaders shall conspicuously provide sanitation wipes or alcohol-based hand rub with at least 60% alcohol at points of entry and strongly encourage patrons using signage, posters, publications or verbal contact to practice good personal hygiene and hand washing upon entry and exit of their facilities.

Supervisors shall establish a cleaning schedule and verification log to track the following:

Employees scheduled to clean; location of the cleaning; time and date of cleaning; type of cleaning.

All merchandise and customer interaction points which encourage touch will be temporarily restricted, including:

• Customer use of keyboards and electronic touch screens. Exception: keypads used in payment processing will be disinfected as frequently as possible.

• Electronic testing of merchandise such as home entertainment systems, headphones, gaming systems and other customer interaction electronics should include signage discouraging customer touch.

• All cosmetic testing samples should be removed and temporarily prohibited from use by customers including all forms of makeup, lipsticks and perfumes.

Food service locations will not change the products or ratios of disinfectants used and approved by preventive medicine or veterinary services for food operations unless directed to do so by organizational leadership or increased health promotion levels dictated elevated disinfection and sanitation procedures.

Cleaning and disinfection after the identification of person(s) suspected or confirmed to have COVID-19 and have been in a community or work facility.

At a school, day care center, office or other facility that does not house people overnight:

It is recommended to close off areas used by the ill persons and wait at least two (2) hours before beginning cleaning and disinfection to minimize potential for exposure to respiratory droplets. Open outside (exterior) doors and windows to increase air circulation in the area. If possible, Isolate the environment and wait up to 24 hours before beginning cleaning and disinfection.

Cleaning staff should clean and disinfect all areas (e.g., offices, bathrooms and common areas) used by the ill persons, focusing especially on frequently touched surfaces.

At a facility that does house people overnight: It is recommended to close off areas used by the ill persons and wait at least two hours before beginning cleaning and disinfection to minimize potential for exposure to respiratory droplets. Open outside doors and windows to increase air circulation in the area. If possible, isolate the environment and wait up to 24 hours before beginning cleaning and disinfection.

How to Clean and Disinfect Surfaces:

If surfaces are dirty, they should be cleaned using a detergent or soap and water prior to disinfection. For disinfection, diluted household bleach solutions, alcohol solutions with at least 70% alcohol, and most common Environmental Protection Agency-registered household disinfectants should be effective.

Diluted household bleach solutions can be used if appropriate for the surface. Follow manufacturer’s instructions for application and proper ventilation. Check to ensure the product is not past its expiration date. Never mix household bleach with ammonia or any other cleanser. Unexpired bleach will be effective against coronaviruses when properly diluted.

Prepare a bleach solution by mixing five tablespoons (one-third cup) bleach per gallon of water or four teaspoons bleach per quart of water. If possible, diluted household bleach solutions should be applied to solid surfaces using a spray bottle or other similar applicator. Solution should be allowed to contact the solid surface for at least 60 seconds prior to wiping the surface with a clean towel or washcloth. Do not reuse towels or washcloths for multiple cleaning cycles.

Products with EPA-approved emerging viral pathogens are expected to be effective against COVID-19 based on data for harder to kill viruses. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for all cleaning and disinfection products (e.g., concentration, application method and contact time, etc.).

For soft (porous) surfaces such as carpeted floor, rugs and drapes, if present remove visible contamination or debris and then clean with appropriate cleaners indicated for use on these surfaces. After cleaning: If the items can be laundered, launder items in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions using the warmest appropriate water setting for the items and then dry items completely. Otherwise, use products with the EPA-approved emerging viral pathogens.

Linens, clothing and other items that go in the laundry:

Do not shake dirty laundry; this minimizes the possibility of dispersing the virus through the air.

Wash items as appropriate in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. If possible, launder items using the warmest appropriate water setting for the items and dry items completely. Dirty laundry that has been in contact with an ill person can be washed with other people’s items safely.

Clean and disinfect hampers or other carts for transporting laundry according to guidance above for hard or soft surfaces.

Personal protective equipment and hand hygiene when cleaning:

Cleaning staff should wear disposable gloves and gowns for all tasks in the cleaning process, including handling trash.

Gloves and gowns should be compatible with the disinfectant products being used.

Additional PPE might be required based on the cleaning/disinfectant products being used and whether there is a risk of splash. Seek guidance from the Installation Safety Office if you believe employees are at a higher risk for liquid or liquid aerosol exposure.

Gloves and gowns should be removed carefully to avoid contamination of the wearer and the surrounding area. Be sure to clean hands after removing gloves.

Staff cleaning more than one facility shall replace PPE in between cleaning separate facilities.

PPE shall be removed and discarded after cleaning a room or area occupied by ill persons. Cleaning of rooms occupied by ill persons shall be IAW guidance found above in para 4.b.

Cleaning staff should immediately report breaches in PPE, or any potential exposures to their supervisor.

Cleaning staff and others should clean hands often, including immediately after removing gloves and after contact with an ill person, by washing hands with soap and water for 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available and hands are not visibly dirty, an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains 60%-95% alcohol may be used. However, if hands are visibly dirty, always wash hands with soap and water.


Compiled by Julia Simpkins

JBM-HH Command Information Officer