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‘Small number’ of USS George H.W. Bush sailors have COVID-19

The aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush returning to Naval Station Norfolk in 2017. (Joe Fudge / Daily Press/TNS)

A “small number” of sailors assigned to the Norfolk-based USS George H.W. Bush have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to a spokeswoman for Naval Air Force Atlantic.

Cmdr. Jennifer Cragg said in an email the crew members who tested positive are now isolated in their homes in Virginia. They will receive daily medical supportive care until they have recovered, she said.

“There has been no impact to readiness,” Cragg added. “The safety and welfare of our Sailors is our top priority.”

The ship is also practicing physical distancing, minimizing group gatherings, wearing protective equipment and cleaning extensively, she said.

Cragg did not provide the number of sailors affected, citing Department of Defense policy issued in March that says individual military installations and regions cannot publicly release specifics about COVID-19 cases due to operational security.

The news about the Bush was first reported Thursday by Navy Times.

It’s not the first Hampton Roads-based ship to deal with cases of the illness.

In May, the “Fighting Blacklions” strike fighter squadron was pulled off the USS Gerald R. Ford and placed into a precautionary restriction of movement after a sailor assigned to that ship tested positive.

An undisclosed number of sailors aboard the Virginia Beach-based USS Carter Hall tested positive the same month.

Last month, some more positive cases were reported among sailors aboard the USS George Washington, which is in the midst of an overhaul at the Newport News Shipyard. Cragg said at the time it was “a small number” as well.

Across the Navy, there have been more than 9,000 cases of the virus.

The Bush aircraft carrier has been undergoing maintenance at the Norfolk Naval Shipyard in Portsmouth since February 2019.

The shipyard is currently conducting temperature checks and screening all personnel with a medical symptoms questionnaire, Cragg said. If necessary, sailors with symptoms are referred for medical evaluation.


© 2020 The Virginian-Pilot