By Master Sgt. Kristian Carter, 433rd Airlift Wing Public Affairs
/ Published September 24, 2020
Tech. Sgt. Juan Vazquez Garcia, 433rd Medical Group, processes a COVID-19 positive case report as a case investigator at the Bexar County COVID-19 Operations center in San Antonio, Texas Sept. 17, 2020. Fifteen 433rd Airlift Wing Reserve Citizen Airmen stepped up to assist the operations center as case investigators. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Iram Carmona)
Tech. Sgt. Anthony Biakpara, 433rd Civil Engineer Squadron (blue suit), leads Chief Master Sgt. Shana Cullum, 433rd Airlift Wing command chief; Col. James C. Miller, 433rd Operations Group commander; and Kimberly Toney, Air Force Personnel Center executive director, on a tour of the Bexar County COVID-19 operations center Sept. 17, 2020 in San Antonio, Texas. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Iram Carmona)
Retired Maj. Gen. Juan Ayala, City of San Antonio director of military affairs, and Kimberly Toney, Air Force Personnel Center executive director, speak during a recognition ceremony for 433rd Airlift Wing Reserve Citizen Airmen who assisted the Bexar County COVID-19 operations center Sept. 17, 2020 in San Antonio, Texas. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Kristian Carter)
Senior leaders from the 433rd Airlift Wing, the Air Force Personnel Center, the city of San Antonio, and Bexar County Metropolitan Public Health District, gathered Sept. 17 to recognize 433rd AW Reserve Citizen Airmen who assisted at the Bexar County COVID-19 Operations Center in the San Antonio Alamodome.
The Alamo Wing Airmen were part of the COVID-19 case investigation team.
When health care providers or other organizations discover a positive case of COVID-19 in Bexar County, they are required by law to report the case to local public health departments immediately.
Within 24 hours after that notification, these case investigators will launch an investigation, using a standardized questionnaire to collect additional data about the patient. Collected data include clinical signs and symptoms, date of symptom onset, and any complications. Most importantly, the case inspector will notify people who were exposed to provide appropriate public health recommendations to limit disease transmission.
In the act of appreciation, the Armed Forces Service Medal was presented to the team members. Several organizations also presented challenge coins to them. Additionally, several city and county representatives and members from Joint Base San Antonio provided remarks of appreciation.
“This COVID-19 pandemic has really put an extraordinary strain on the public health infrastructure,” said Dr. Anita Kurian, San Antonio Metropolitan Health District assistant director and Bexar County Communicable Disease Division director. “I have never witnessed this much public engagement, interest, and support for public health in my 18-year public health career. We appreciate all the assistance we have received.”
Kimberly Toney, Air Force Personnel Center executive director, said, “It is an exceptional honor to be here to say thank you to our men and women in uniform. When this started, and we were looking for volunteers, they raised their hands and said, ‘I want to be there and do that. I want to be a part of it.’”