Navy Takes Data-Driven Approach to Loosening COVID-19 Travel Limits

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The U.S. Navy is taking a selective, data-driven approach in its new plan to lift across-the-board travel and liberty restrictions it has imposed due to COVID-19.

The decision on when and where unrestricted travel can resume will be made on a location-by-location basis based on current conditions in local areas. This will be driven by real-time tracking of the COVID-19 status of each area, which the Navy’s leadership is assessing using a database developed by the Pentagon, ADVANA. 

The Navy says that the database provides the current infection and associated data for most cities, states, territories and overseas host nations, and it includes military installations and facilities. It is considered a “very new and emerging capability” and access is limited at the moment. 

In this tracking system, once conditions for reopening have been met, individual areas will be rated “green” and given permission to resume unrestricted travel. The conditions for each area incorporate the White House’s guidelines for opening up: 14-day downward trajectory of new COVID-19 cases and positive tests as well as a concurrent drop in reports of flu-like and COVID-19-like symptoms.

Servicemember travel will usually be permitted between areas having “green” ratings. All other areas will still be subject to the existing stop-movement restrictions. The status designations are subject to review at any time in the event of new localized outbreaks. 

“This conditions-based, phased approach prioritizes the safety and security of our personnel, their families and our communities while balancing the need to advance service member career opportunities, unit rotational deployments, and other imperatives,” wrote Vice Adm. John B. Nowell, Jr., the Navy’s top uniformed personnel official. “Commands and individual service members should remain vigilant and implement reasonable measures to reduce risk of exposure and infection where appropriate.”

As of June 12, the U.S. has experienced two million reported cases and is adding about 18,000 more per day. According to an analysis by the Associated Press, the seven-day rolling average for new reported cases is rising in 21 states. 

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