COVID Outbreak Hits Two Navy Warships Deployed In Middle East
In what seems a repeat of the USS Theodore Roosevelt coronavirus outbreak saga of last Spring which led to the sacking of its commander who blew the whistle on Pentagon mishandling, and the resignation of no less than the Secretary of the Navy, there are now two US warships that have been struck with COVID-19 outbreaks while patrolling Middle East regional waters.
Both are now said to be returning to port in Bahrain to handle the emerging crisis, according to the Associated Press on Friday. “A dozen troops aboard the USS San Diego, an amphibious transport dock, tested positive for COVID-19, said Cmdr. Rebecca Rebarich, a spokeswoman for the Bahrain-based 5th Fleet,” AP reports.
Additionally, the guided-missile cruiser USS Philippine Sea which has also been deployed to the gulf and Indian Ocean regions has “confirmed several cases of COVID-19,” according to the 5th Fleet’s statement. This out of an estimated 380 sailors on board. The San Diego is the larger of the two, with almost 600 sailors and Marines.
“All positive cases have been isolated on board, and the (ships) remains in a restricted COVID bubble,” Cmdr. Rebarich said. “The port visit and medical support have been coordinated with the host nation government and Bahrain Ministry of Health.”
Through much of the summer following the major USS Theodore Roosevelt carrier outbreak crisis which saw over 1,000 sailors test positive – including one death – a number of naval ships opted for extended stints at sea – avoiding port calls in order to maintain natural isolation from potential exposure on land.
However, there’s since been a sense of ‘normal’ deployment protocols resuming, though with heightened hygiene and distancing measures, and what the Navy has called “aggressive mitigation” efforts to combat the virus.
Meanwhile, earlier this month the Roosevelt itself was actually back in pandemic related news after at least three sailors tested positive for COVID-19. The small cluster of infections was uncovered during ‘random’ surveillance testing for the virus. It remains that the majority of cases in the Navy are asymptomatic, which why the military has been so regularly conducting large scale monitoring tests.
Fri, 02/26/2021 – 23:20