The crew of the U.S. Navy warship the USS Milwaukee remains docked at the Naval Station port in Guantanamo Bay, although it was scheduled to deploy to South America last week. The crew is fully vaccinated, yet a rash of positive COVID-19 tests keeps the ship from leaving on its latest assignment.
The Navy released a statement on the outbreak among the 100 percent vaccinated crew members. ” . . .all COVID-19 positive sailors are isolated on board; a portion of those infected have exhibited mild symptoms.” The release went on to tout the effectiveness of the vaccine in preventing more severe symptoms of the illness.
The USS Milwaukee is a littoral combat ship. It is unknown how many sailors tested positive. However, the warship carries a crew of just over one hundred people. The ship began deployment from Mayport, Florida on December 14. The ship was headed to
The Navy had set a deadline of November 28 for all service members to become fully vaccinated against the Coronavirus. The most recent available data shows that 98 percent of active duty service members have complied with the mandate.
The Navy said that individuals on the ship are “following an aggressive mitigation strategy” which is in line with guidelines from both the CDC and the United States Navy. According to The Washington Post, military medical professionals are discussing options for providing a vaccine booster for crew members as well.
Masks are required indoors at all times on the ship, and the booster shot will be voluntary among crew members, says Commander Kate Meadows, a Navy spokesperson.
The Coronavirus has often wreaked havoc at times when ships are preparing to deploy only to have an outbreak on board. Last year, in the early days of the pandemic, the USS Theodore Roosevelt was sidelined for two months when the first wave of the virus struck. One sailor on board died as a result of illness. The crew of the USS Theodore Roosevelt was docked in Guam when the outbreak took place. At that time, 1,000 sailors tested positive out of 4,800 crew members.
As of this writing, no details are available regarding when the ship will attempt to deploy to South America as planned.
Overwhelmingly, the United States military service members have complied with the Biden Administration vaccine mandate. As of a report released on December 8, only 27,000 had refused to comply with the order. Over 1.4 million Americans are considered active duty military.
Although no exact number has been released regarding the exact amount of individuals on board the USS Milwaukee with a positive COVID-19 test, ABC News reports that at least twenty-five of the 100+ crew on board the ship is affected.