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Coronavirus outbreaks affecting Navy ships

USS Lake Champlain
Posted at 9:50 PM, Feb 20, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-21 10:44:02-05

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - More than a dozen sailors are home quarantining in San Diego after catching the coronavirus on the USS Lake Champlain.

The ship arrived at their home port Friday morning after completing routine operations, according to a Navy source.

This is the latest COVID-19 outbreak for the Navy.

The first outbreak happened last March on the USS Roosevelt. The ship became stranded in Guam to allow sailors to quarantine and get medical assistance.

More than 1,200 sailors tested positive and at least one died.

After that outbreak the Navy created a COVID-19 Leaders' Handbook. The handbook mandates testing be done two weeks before deployments, a 14 day quarantine and another COVID -19 test before shipping out.

While on the ship the handbook says leaders must enforce social distancing, masking and washing hands often.

There's been at least two more outbreaks since the handbook's creation.

Officials reported the USS Roosevelt has at least 3 COVID-19 positive sailors this week and the USS Lake Champlain had an outbreak the same week.

According to the Navy, sailors who tested positive were quarantined and now they and close contacts are off the ship.

The statement said no one has been hospitalized and, "Force health protection for our sailors is a top priority."

In total the Navy has more than 32,000 COVID-19 cases, making it the branch with the second most cases in the military, behind the Army.

ABC 10News spoke with a mother of a sailor on board the USS Lake Champlain and she was very concerned when she learned of the outbreak, "of course shock, like what? Are you kidding me?"

She did not want us to identify her to protect her child's position in the Navy.

The USS Lake Champlain was on a routine operation, out to sea for less than 30 days. According to a Navy source, the trip did not meet the threshold requiring sailors to quarantine and get tested for the coronavirus.

The mom we spoke to is thankful everyone is home safe and is keeping her faith, "I won't say fear because I pray... So I know he's protected, so I won't say fear but it was very alarming, very concerning."

A Navy source said the ship will not leave port until the positive crew members quarantine at least 14 days.