5 more San Diego shipboard sailors test positive for COVID-19 as Navy stops naming infected ships

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San Diego

Sailors man the rails of the amphibious assault ship USS Boxer (LHD 4). Boxer, part of the Boxer Amphibious Ready Group (ARG), is returning to its homeport of San Diego following a 7-month deployment to the 5th and 7th fleet area of operations (Nov. 27, 2019).

Five more Pacific Fleet sailors stationed on San Diego-based ships tested positive for COVID-19, the Navy announced Sunday, doubling the number of such cases on the waterfront.

The five sailors, who tested positive on Saturday, are in isolation off-ship and restricted in movement, according to a Pacific Fleet statement. The Navy is no longer naming the ships with positive tests, the fleet announced Friday.

Previously, the Navy said two sailors on the amphibious assault ship Boxer and one on the littoral combat ship Coronado tested positive.

On Friday, the fleet announced two more positive cases on ships in San Diego but did not name the vessels. In a statement, the Hawaii-based Pacific Fleet did not explain why the Navy is no longer naming ships with COVID-19 cases, saying only that it is now its policy to name only the geographic region in which a sailor tests positive.

While the Navy is no longer naming the ships, a senior Navy official told the Union-Tribune Sunday that none of the cases are on board the hospital ship Mercy, which is preparing to deploy from San Diego to provide medical support in response to the spreading coronavirus.

Sunday's announcement brings the number of shipboard cases in San Diego to 10, and the total number of local military cases to 18.

San Diego's military cases include:

  • 7 sailors on unnamed ships 
  • 3 sailors at a Naval Base San Diego schoolhouse, 
  • 3 Marines at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, 
  • 2 sailors on the USS Boxer, 
  • 1 sailor on the USS Coronado
  • 1 sailor at Naval Air Station North Island
  • 1 Marine at Camp Pendleton

The Navy and Marines have each instituted strict measures on bases and ships to curb the spread of the virus, including closing non-essential and recreational activities on bases and beefing up daily cleaning routines on vessels.

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