COVID Clinic: Defending against the pandemic

  • Published
  • By 2nd Lt. Benjamin Aronson
  • 15th Wing Public Affairs

The 15th Medical Group is on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic here, and the COVID-19 Clinic lies at the center of their efforts.

In March, the 15th MDG stood up the first COVID-19 clinic within Pacific Air Forces. 

“If we don't protect our population and let COVID-19 run rampant, then it can slow or stop the mission,” said Maj. Nicole Pries, 15th MDG COVID-19Clinic commander. “Hawaii is special in the Pacific arena, and if our mission gets stunted, it could have ripples effects across the region.”

The mission of the COVID-19 Clinic is to evaluate a person’s symptoms and see if they meet the criteria to be tested for COVID-19. The clinic conducts drive-through testing and assigns different levels of quarantine to members depending on the results. The clinic virtually checks on members and tracks symptoms of members on quarantine. 

Since March, the COVID-19 Clinic evaluated more than 6,000 people and administered more than 2,000 tests.

“The clinic has been a learning process throughout on how to operate,” said Tech. Sgt. Christopher Lawson, 15th MDG COVID-19 Clinic flight chief. “For a lot of us, this is out of our normal day spectrum and many have stepped up and embraced the COVID team and run with it.”

The clinic began with four members and is now up to 23 members from across multiple medical career fields. The unit can staff and schedule the team in a way that prevents disabling the member’s home units from being understaffed and limits any potential COVID-19 spread among clinic workers.

With the upcoming flu and holiday season, the COVID-19 Clinic recommends continuing to social distance, wearing a mask, washing hands, and monitoring all symptoms. 

The most general symptoms the clinic comes across include sore throat, headache, body aches, fever, sneezing, and itchy or watery eyes. “Be mindful of your symptoms, and don’t be afraid to get tested,” said Lawson. “We do this for each other and it’s about keeping everyone else safe.” 

To talk to a medical professional about COVID-19 symptoms and testing, contact Public Health at 808-448-6272 or the COVID-19 Clinic at 808-448-6363.