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Parris Island cancels Marine graduations amid concern over coronavirus

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

Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island has canceled graduation ceremonies for new Marines indefinitely amid the spread of the coronavirus.

The base announced the decision in a Facebook post Thursday. Remaining family activities were also canceled, and new Marines and their families were to leave the depot Thursday.

Close to 20,000 recruits come to Parris Island for training after enlistment each year. The base trains male recruits from the eastern half of the U.S. and all of the country’s female recruits.

A family day on the Thursday before graduation is the first time new Marines see loved ones during the 12-week training.

Beaufort County’s other military bases are also monitoring the coronavirus outbreak as cases in South Carolina grow.

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Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort and Naval Hospital Beaufort are operating normally while taking certain precautions.

Here is the latest on the status of how each base is handling COVID-19.

Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island

While graduations are canceled indefinitely, including Friday’s ceremony, recruit training will continue normally, the announcement said.

Preliminary screening has been implemented as a precautionary measure for recruits upon arrival to the Depot, said Capt. Bryan McDonnell, director of Communication Strategy and Operations at Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island.

Drill instructors teach and enforce good hygiene habits throughout recruit training. This includes mandatory hand-washing before every meal, the carrying of hand sanitizer by every recruit, and nightly showers, McDonnell said.

Parris Island is monitoring updates from federal authorities and is prepared to add protective measures if necessary, the base said.

Naval Hospital Beaufort

Anyone who feels they might have coronavirus symptoms or suspects they have had contact with someone who does should call 843-228-5200 to be directed to a nurse’s advice line before arriving at the hospital, Naval Hospital spokesman Trey Savitz said. A base official will then meet the person at the gate and escort them where they need to go.

The Naval Hospital website directs users to guidance on coronavirus from Tricare, which provides health coverage for military members and dependents. Base officials are working to implement other measures they expect to be in place soon.

Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort

The base is in “HPCON ALPHA,” according to its website. The air station is taking routine health precautions and hadn’t changed its operating status as of early afternoon Thursday.

Those experiencing cough, fever, shortness of breath or who have been exposed to coronavirus should stay home and contact a healthcare provider.

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© 2020 The Island Packet