Aug. 12, 2021
HPCON Bravo – NS Guantanamo Bay
HPCON Charlie – All other NRSE Installations
STATUS UPDATE #23
As the Delta Coronavirus variant is increasing the number of cases throughout much of the nation, leadership is taking action to help protect our Navy team. We have already reinstated masking requirements throughout the Region in accordance with the Deputy SECDEF memorandum on mask guidelines put out last week.
“In areas of substantial or high community transmission, the DOD requires all Service Members, Federal Employees, onsite contractors employees, and visitors, regardless of vaccination status, to wear a mask in an indoor setting in installations” except for:
• When an individual is alone in an office with floor-to-ceiling walls with a closed door.
• For brief periods of time when eating and drinking while maintaining distancing in accordance with CDC guidelines and instructions from commanders and supervisors.
• When the mask is required to be lowered briefly for identification or security purposes.
• When necessary to reasonably accommodate an individual with a disability.
• When necessary to reasonably accommodate participation in a religious service.
• When underlying health conditions exist that prohibit mask wearing, and the individual in possession of medical documentation from a military or licensed civilian healthcare provider outlining the condition and the restriction it places on mask wearing.
• Children under the age of two and anyone who is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance.
• Personnel conducting training in which mask wearing is not feasible, such as swim qualification, amphibious or aquatic training events, or where mask wearing impedes safety such as live-fire, or other high-risk training events where masks create a hazard.
• Individuals alone (or with members of their household) in their housing or barracks room.
• Personnel operating machinery, tools, and/or other items during the use of which a mask would present a safety hazard.
These exceptions are derived from Deputy Secretary of Defense Feb. 4, 2021, memo on Use of Masks and Other Public Health Measures and Secretary of the Navy’s Mar. 4, 2021, memo on Use of Masks and other Public Health Measures.
Additionally, case-loads are requiring a return to HPCON C for several Southeast installations as noted above. For non-vaccinated personnel this return to HPCON C will result in subsequent restrictions as it relates to visiting public establishments. That means using dine-in restaurants, malls, barber shops, local swimming pools and other services are no longer allowable as per the NAVNORTH EXORD 20-032 for non-vaccinated military personnel.
Except for mask requirements and social distancing directed in the Deputy SECDEF memo dated July 28, 2021, members of the Navy Region Southeast Team who are fully vaccinated will continue to be treated as if they are in a HPCON Bravo status. You should also ensure you are following standard CDC protection measures such as frequent hand washing, not touching your face, sanitation of work surfaces and more.
In addition, service members must still comply with regional and installation commander’s guidance for on-installation services and follow any restrictions and measures established by local civil authorities.
Max telework will resume and workers are encouraged to work from home where performance of their jobs will allow.
We certainly hope that this is a short-term measure and that we will be in a position to reinstate HPCON Bravo soon. Changing HPCON levels is a risk-based decision that commanders make in consultation with medical leadership and in accordance with CDC guidance, public health data, and collaboration with state and local authorities, and installations in Charlie can request to move to Bravo once they have achieved the conditions-based required criteria:
· Symptoms: Downward trajectory of influenza-like illnesses and COVID-like illness cases reported over the preceding 14-day period.
· Cases: Downward trajectory of documented COVID-19 cases or of positive tests as a percent of total tests over the preceding 14-day period.
· Medical Facilities: Military Medical Treatment Facilities or local hospitals have the capacity to treat all patients without crisis care and have a COVID-19 testing program in place for at-risk healthcare workers and those exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19.
All these measures are in place in consideration of your welfare and to ensure continued mission success. The decision for resuming HPCON Charlie and reinstituting mask mandates is being made based on the best available information and consultation with medical representatives.
Medical professionals recommend vaccines as the best protection against the disease, and the Navy continues to offer and promote the vaccine to unvaccinated personnel. You can find the nearest medical facility offering vaccinations here: https://informatics-stage.health.mil/COVAX/.
The safety of our personnel is my number one priority. We can continue to successfully execute our mission while also increasing measures to keep everyone safe. Encourage each other to stay the course, make smart personal decisions, and hopefully, together, we can return to more normal circumstances soon.