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Coronavirus hits 2 more US Navy warships

USS Coronado (LCS-4) returns to homeport after an 18-month deployment. The first Independence-variant littoral combat ship to deploy, Coronado operated in Southeast Asia for 14 months and worked with 16 navies, participated in 11 exercises, made 10 strategic port visits and successfully fired a Harpoon surface-to-surface missile, striking a target beyond visual range. (U.S. Navy Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Anthony N. Hilkowski/Released)
March 18, 2020

The U.S. Navy reported its first sailor aboard a warship testing positive for coronavirus earlier this week. Now two more sailors on two different warships have also tested positive with coronavirus.

A sailor aboard the littoral combat ship USS Coronado and another sailor aboard the guided-missile destroyer USS Ralph Johnson have both tested positive with the virus, according to Navy press releases for each incident.

The USS Coronado, based out of San Diego, Calif. and the USS Ralph Johnson, based out of Everett, Wash. were both homeported at the time the coronavirus cases were confirmed.

Both press releases stated, “The Sailor is currently isolated at their home and restricted in movement in accordance with the Center for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines.”

The sailor aboard the USS Ralph Johnson tested positive on Monday, while the sailor aboard the USS Coronado tested positive on Tuesday.

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Other U.S. Navy personnel who had close contact with the sailors on each ship were also notified, sent home and are being monitored.

“U.S. Navy ships conduct routine, daily cleanliness procedures geared toward health, wellness and the prevention of communicable disease spread,” the USS Ralph Johnson press release stated. ‘Given this case, Ralph Johnson is conducting extensive cleaning to mitigate further spread to the crew.”

Both press statements went on to say, “Additionally, military health professionals are in the process of conducting a thorough contact investigation to determine whether any other personnel may have been in close contact and possibly exposed.”

Each ship will consider additional precautionary measures depending on the results of the contact investigations.

“The Navy is committed to taking every measure possible to protect the health of our force. We remain in close coordination with state and federal authorities, and public health authorities to ensure the well-being of our personnel and local population,” the press statements said.

The first coronavirus case for U.S. Navy personnel aboard a ship occurred on the amphibious assault ship USS Boxer, and the sailor who tested positive and other personnel who had close contact with that sailor were also sent home.

The U.S. Navy has made other recent efforts to help stop the spread of the coronavirus. Last week, the service implemented a new rule barring guests from attending Navy boot camp graduation ceremonies.

On Friday, the U.S. Department of Defense issued orders effective from Monday, March 16 through May 11, ordering all service members in the U.S. to suspend travel and limit those personnel to the immediate commuting area of their individual commands. Civilian DoD members and their families also saw government-funded travel stopped, but were still permitted to carry on with personal travel. The orders also called for a freeze on hiring for civilian employees outside the normal commuting areas of DoD commands and facilities.