A sailor aboard the amphibious assault ship Boxer has tested positive for COVID-19, becoming the first US Navy sailor to do so, the Navy said in a statement on Sunday.
The sailor, whose official status is “presumptive positive” until confirmed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is now in isolation at his off-base residence and the Navy is conducting a contact investigation to identify any person who could have had contact. with the sailor.
“People identified by the individual as having close contact have been notified and are in isolation at their homes,” according to a Navy official with knowledge of the case.
The sailor reported to a Navy medical clinic on Friday that they were ill, according to the official. The test results came back positive on Saturday.
“The USS Boxer is taking appropriate preventative measures and performing a deep clean in accordance with specific guidelines from the CDC and Navy-Marine Corps Public Health Center,” the Navy statement said.
The Boxer has a crew of more than 1,200 sailors and is currently in port at Naval Base San Diego, which announced its first case of COVID-19 on Saturday.
As with the Diamond Princess and Grand Princess cruise ships, neighborhoods close to life aboard the ships have been vectors of the coronavirus. San Diego government officials announced on Thursday that community spread of the virus was underway in the region.
“The Commander of the Naval Surface Force of the US Pacific Fleet is committed to taking all possible measures to protect the health of our force,” the Navy statement said. “We remain in close coordination with state and federal authorities, and public health authorities to ensure the well-being of our staff and the local population. “
Cmdr. Ron Flanders, spokesman for the Naval Air Forces in San Diego, told the Union-Tribune on Sunday that any sailor from any ship who felt ill should not come to work.
“Sailors can be programmed not to make themselves sick, but that’s exactly what we want them to do,” Flanders said. “If sailors feel sick, they should let their chain of command know. We don’t want sick sailors on our ships right now.