Officials: Nearly 25% of Navy warship crews have COVID-19

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WASHINGTON (TBEN) — About two dozen sailors from a U.S. Navy warship — or about 25% of the crew — have now tested positive for COVID-19, moving the ship away from Naval Station Port of Guantanamo Bay on Monday, according to US defense officials.

The USS Milwaukee has a crew of just over 100 and was forced to suspend deployment late last week due to the coronavirus outbreak. Defense officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity on Monday to discuss details of the outbreak, said the number of infected sailors remained relatively constant at this stage.

The smaller, stealthier gunship USS Milwaukee remains in port at Naval Base Guantanamo Bay. It is the first Navy ship this year to have to end its deployment at sea – others were sidelined in the early months of the virus outbreak last year.

It began its deployment from Naval Base Mayport in Jacksonville, Fla., on Dec. 14, and had stopped for a scheduled port visit. The ship was heading for the area of ​​the United States Southern Command.

The Navy said in a statement Friday that the ship’s crew were “100% immune” and that all those who tested positive for COVID-19 were isolated on the ship, away from other crew members. crew. The Navy declined to disclose the number of sailors infected.

Officials said Monday that the Navy believes vaccinating all crew is the key factor in controlling the outbreak.

According to the Navy statement, “some” of those infected are showing mild symptoms and the specific variant is not yet known. COVID-19 cases have increased across the country due to the highly contagious omicron variant.

The first major military outbreak of the virus occurred early last year on a Navy warship, the USS Theodore Roosevelt, an aircraft carrier that operated in the Pacific. The Roosevelt was sidelined in Guam for nearly two months and more than 1,000 of the 4,800 crew members tested positive. A sailor died and the entire crew went through weeks of quarantine in a rotation that kept enough sailors on the ship to keep it safe and in good working order.

According to the latest data released by the Navy, more than 98% of all active duty sailors have been fully immunized.

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