With COVID-19 spiking, Pentagon OKs travel to all states save three

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California, Florida and Michigan are the only states to which service members aren’t allowed to travel for permanent change-of-station moves, temporary duty and other non-essential purposes, per a Monday release from the Pentagon, as Minnesota and North Carolina are now green.

As cases continue to climb in those states, several others ― including Texas and Arizona ― are also experiencing an increase in daily diagnoses, though they continue to be green-lit. All told, 48 states and territories and eight countries are good-to-go as of Monday.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott informally urged residents of the state to stay at home on June 23, as cases hit record highs there.

Despite spikes in several states, none has yet returned to red status.

Those decisions could be made by a combatant commander, civilian service secretary or the Defense Department’s chief management officer.

Conditions for going green include a 14-day decrease in new COVID-19 cases, as well as reports of COVID-like symptoms, as well as sufficient local hospital capacity to deal with any upswings.

“If installation conditions are subsequently not met, the approval authority decides if travel restrictions should be reinstated,” the release said.

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The updated travel ban list comes as cases are spiking around the country, including within the military. Last week, cases among service members jumped 20 percent.

Over the weekend, another 1,100 were diagnosed, a 10-percent increase over three days.

“In general we are doing more testing, which can lead to more positive cases, which prompts more testing,” Air Force spokesman Lt. Col. Malinda Singleton told Military Times. “Many of our installations are in current hotspots (Texas, Arizona, Florida), which is also leading to an increase in positive cases.”

The Air Force’s numbers jumped 44 percent last week.

About

Meghann Myers is the Pentagon bureau chief at Military Times. She covers operations, policy, personnel, leadership and other issues affecting service members.

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