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2 Marines on Parris Island test positive for coronavirus

A road sign in Parris Island, SC, May 13, 2011. (DOD photo by D. Myles Cullen)

Two Marines on Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island tested positive for coronavirus last week, the base announced Tuesday.

The Marines are quarantined at home, where they have been since awaiting the test results after showing symptoms, Marine Corps. Capt. Bryan McDonnell said. Those Marines reported to have been in close contact with them are also in quarantine as a precaution.

Recruit training continues on Parris Island, where prospective Marines from the eastern half of the United States come to train. Prospective recruits are being screened at their recruiting offices, again at the nearest Military Entrance Processing Station before they leave for Parris Island and again in a receiving area when they arrive on base, McDonnell said.

“We are being proactive and taking the measures we need to take in order to make sure were safeguarding our ability to keep up the readiness of the Marine Corps but also to protect the community, because we’re part of the community,” McDonnell said.

Fourty-four new cases of coronavirus in South Carolina were reported by state health officials Tuesday, bringing the total in the state to 342. There are 22 known cases in Beaufort County.

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Parris Island has been closed to all visitors except active-duty Marines, recruits, dependents and employees. Graduation ceremonies for new Marines have been closed to the public and a standard 10-day leave for recruits has been suspended.

Once they are through screening, recruits have been spread out in the mess hall during chow to allow for social distancing. Chapel services are recorded and played for recruits in their barracks and classes where recruits train as a company are being conducted in their squad bays, McDonnell noted.

The Marines who tested positive worked in an office away from recruits, a release said. Work spaces were decontaminated.

McDonnell said there had been no confirmed cases in drill instructors or recruits as of Tuesday.

The cases mark three known military members in Beaufort County to test positive for COVID-19.

A Marine stationed at Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort also tested positive last week. The Marine had returned from leave in California and had not returned to base between his return and the positive test, the Air Station said.

A Naval Hospital Beaufort spokesman said this week the base had not yet reported any cases.

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© 2020 The Island Packet