WICHITA FALLS, TX (KFDX/KJTL) — A Sheppard Air Force Base spokesman said conditions in rooms where a group of airmen were being quarantined because of Covid-19 exposure were unacceptable, and are being addressed so it does not happen again.
The response came after a family member of one of the airmen brought the conditions to the attention of KFDX and other media.
Sheppard Chief of Public Affairs George Woodward sent this statement concerning the incident:
“The Airmen were placed in a restriction of movement status based on potential COVID-19 exposure, according to base public health guidance. Unfortunately, proper procedures were not followed in assigning rooms or supporting these Airmen. When this was brought to the attention of senior officers it was immediately corrected. The group commander, a colonel, personally visited the Airmen to ensure they were being properly cared for. This situation was entirely unacceptable and contrary to Air Force values and standards, and appropriate actions will be taken.”
Officials said the group commander inspected the rooms and apologized to the airmen.
The parent who made the complaint to KFDX on Monday in hopes the situation would be addressed as soon as possible, says his son and 10-12 of his classmates were waiting to be flown home in three days, when on Thursday, July 22, they were placed in quarantine after one tested positive.
The father requested no names be published out of concerns for possible actions “whistleblowers” sometimes face.
He said there was little communication with the airmen about the quarantine procedure, and they were put in a filthy room just vacated by other airmen, with trash bins full of garbage and a refrigerator with spoiled food.
He said the airmen apparently were forgotten about, and missed dinner on Friday night, breakfast and dinner on Saturday, and breakfast Sunday.
The father said another trainee on the base not under quarantine brought them a few things to eat Saturday night.
He said they were told Monday they would have to remain in quarantine until Aug. 1 regardless of the results of any tests they might receive at some point.
It is not known if any additional Covid-19 tests have been taken yet.
After the publication of the story, a parent of one of the airmen in quarantine reached out to Texoma’s Homepage to tell us all the airmen were tested for Covid-19 on Tuesday, July 27, and two tested positive and will remain quarantined for another 10 days.
The parent said the others were told they would have to remain in quarantine until August 1 regardless of test results. The parent also says conditions and care improved immediately after the conditions were brought to the attention of Sheppard’s command.