WASHINGTON -- Navy leadership published a COVID-19 Leaders’ Handbook containing current Navy guidance on COVID mitigation measures and procedures 30 June as a reference for leaders throughout the fleet.
The handbook will act as a quick guide for leaders both ashore and at sea to educate their teams on the threat COVID poses to the Navy and give them key information on prevention and mitigation procedures.
As new information and research about the coronavirus comes available, the Navy updates and publishes guiding documents to inform and assist the fleets in their decision making processes. This handbook distills and collates key high-level guidance into one place to more easily allow leaders to make informed decisions and thrive within the COVID-19 environment.
The handbook will assist commands in the completion of their missions both at sea and ashore as they become accustomed to the “new normal” of operating in a COVID-19 environment. Guidelines require commands to establish and maintain COVID-free bubbles, adhere to the established prevention protocols, and be ready to fight through COVID outbreaks while continuing to provide mission assurance.
The handbook includes information on how COVID spreads, and promotes Public Health Mitigation Measures like self-monitoring and reporting, physical distancing, washing hands frequently, and wearing masks to prevent the spread of the disease that have been proven as effective tools in fighting the virus.
The handbook also covers protocols for containment in the event that there is an outbreak in addition to outlining the process of conducting methodical contact tracing to identify service members who may have been in close proximity to a COVID-positive Sailor.
“The handbook is designed to provide Leaders at all levels with a common understanding of the latest science, show them that current USN guidance is grounded in that science, provide them tools to prevent, and when necessary, contain COVID-19.” said Rear Adm. Will Pennington, Special Assistant to the Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Operations and Plans.
Newly established sentinel surveillance testing protocols are also outlined as a key resource for unit commanders to potentially identify asymptomatic COVID-positive individuals. The handbook stressed that scientific data informs operational guidance and frequent updates will be made.
“This handbook reinforces how individual responsibility and simple public health mitigation measures are critical to protecting the team, and is written to allow young leaders to distill and then disseminate the most pertinent guidance so we can successfully operate through this pandemic,” explained Rear Adm. Karl Thomas, Assistant Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Operations, Plans, and Strategy.
The Navy will continue to protect the health of the force and proactively fight complacency within the ranks. The Navy is prepared to fight and overcome the challenge of operating in a COVID-19 environment while delivering decisive sea power on, above, and under the sea.