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An aerial photo of the Pentagon and Arlington, Va., Oct. 28, 2018. The Pentagon on Wednesday, Sept. 14, 2022, lowered the coronavirus health-risk level at the complex to the lowest severity for the first time since the pandemic began more than two years ago.

An aerial photo of the Pentagon and Arlington, Va., Oct. 28, 2018. The Pentagon on Wednesday, Sept. 14, 2022, lowered the coronavirus health-risk level at the complex to the lowest severity for the first time since the pandemic began more than two years ago. (Quinn Hurt/U.S. Marine Corps)

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WASHINGTON — The Pentagon on Wednesday lowered its coronavirus health-risk level to the lowest severity for the first time since the pandemic began more than two years ago.

The Pentagon is now at Health Protection Condition Alpha, which indicates there is a “low [coronavirus] community-level risk,” the Defense Department said in a statement. It allows the Pentagon to return to 100% normal occupancy, meaning remote work is no longer required.

“A reminder HPCON Alpha is not HPCON Normal, and certain safety precautions in addition to the normal handwashing, healthy eating, getting enough sleep and exercise are prescribed,” defense officials said.

The Pentagon had reached HPCON Charlie during the height of the pandemic, which required everyone to wear masks inside the complex and reduced workplace capacity to less than 25% of the workforce.

Most recently, the Pentagon had been at HPCON Bravo, which allows up to 50% of personnel to come into the building.

At HPCON Alpha, Pentagon personnel and visitors remain encouraged to stay vigilant with hygiene, sanitation and other mitigation practices as there remains a “limited” transmission rate for the virus, according to the Defense Department.

“If you’re sick, call your medical provider for instructions on receiving care before going to a clinic or hospital,” the Pentagon said in the statement. “Make sure your installation is aware of the symptoms of your health threat.”

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Caitlin Doornbos covers the Pentagon for Stars and Stripes after covering the Navy’s 7th Fleet as Stripes’ Indo-Pacific correspondent at Yokosuka Naval Base, Japan. Previously, she worked as a crime reporter in Lawrence, Kan., and Orlando, Fla., where she was part of the Orlando Sentinel team that placed as finalist for the 2017 Pulitzer Prize for breaking news. Caitlin has a Bachelor of Science in journalism from the University of Kansas and master’s degree in defense and strategic studies from the University of Texas at El Paso.

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