March 26, 2020
STATUS UPDATE #5
A lot has changed this week and the impacts of COVID-19 is changing daily life for all of us. Positive cases continue to rise across the country. COVID-19 cases throughout the Department of Defense are also rising, fortunately at a slower rate than civilian communities; the 574 cases reported by the DoD today include uniformed military, civilian, family members, and contractor personnel.
As of today, we have 29 confirmed positive COVID-19 on our installations amongst our Sailors, civilians and family members. Across the entire U.S. Navy there are 86 positive cases. Out of the 12 states that comprise our region, the CDC has classified Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Louisiana, Tennessee, Georgia, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Mississippi as having sustained community transmission. Since our last update on March 24, the number of positive COVID-19 cases across our 12 states has increased to more than 6,800 cases.
We are in Health Protection Condition Charlie and have added new measures to help protect our Navy family while balancing the requirement to support the Navy’s mission. While our focus is always on the health and safety of our people and their families, we must maintain mission readiness.
Several people have asked how local and statewide “Stay At Home” orders would affect them. Currently, the only state in the Southeast Region to establish a “Shelter in Place” order is Louisiana, though several counties and cities issued similar orders. If you are curious as to whether your state or county has issued any orders, you can visit the National Association of Counties interactive map.
Military personnel, Navy civilians and contractors support essential services required to meet national security commitments to the federal government. While supporting such essential services, Navy personnel are exempt from such state and local restrictions. Contact your immediate supervisor should you have any questions or concerns regarding this matter.
All Navy personnel – whether at work or at home – should continuously self-evaluate their health and signs of sickness. As part of directed heightened safety measures, we have begun the screening of all personnel entering buildings. Tenant commands, CDCs, Commissaries and Navy Exchanges are implementing heightened safety measures as well.
The COVID-19 Questionnaire, as seen here, will be used to screen personnel. Take a look at the questionnaire every morning before you leave your residence. If you answer yes to any of the questions follow the directions on the form and notify your supervisor.
The Navy takes the privacy of our Sailors and civilians seriously, be mindful of this as you go through the screening process.
In addition to the health screenings, U.S. Fleet Forces directed the closure of the following non-mission essential functions beginning today in order mitigate the spread of COVID-19 within our ranks and among our families:
· Close all fitness centers and aquatic facilities.
· Close all MWR discretionary programs to include:
o Golf Pro-shops.
o Bowling alleys
o Movie theaters
o Single Sailor/Liberty centers
o Ticket and Travel
o Auto Hobby shops
o Outdoor recreations
o Craft centers
· Marinas and RV Parks will not receive new patrons and not offer community programs.
· Close on-site in-person Fleet and Family Support activities and will go to virtual services.
· Close and secure all playgrounds.
· Galley service shall be restricted to rations in kind. Emergency responders, mission essential personnel eligible for galley patronage, and active duty personnel assigned to the installation may use the galley. We will minimize dining-in as much as possible and provide maximum utilization of to-go box meals.
· Secure all chapels.
· Suspend all motorcycle training.
Many things remain open, too, including commissaries, exchanges, military treatment facilities as well as the Military Health System Nurse Advice Line and the My Navy Career Center – available 24/7 to answer your questions.
Some might question the necessity of keeping installations open and continuing to train given the current global circumstances and the answer is simple -- America continues to depend on us to provide security and stability to this nation. We will do just that. While it is not business as usual, our business must go on.
In the midst of this unprecedented time, Navy Region Southeast wants to remind everyone that we will get through this. Though we are social distancing, we are not social isolating. Reach out to your family, friends and co-workers. If you or one of your shipmates needs help, reach out to the Military Crisis Line, Military One-Source, Navy chaplain care, Psychological Health Resource Center, Navy Marine Corps Public Health Center, and the Navy Marine Corps Relief Society.
Above all, take care of yourselves ... and each other. Your safety is our primary concern as we continue to carry out the Navy’s mission in defense of our nation.