January 24, 2022

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Covid Outbreak Strands U.S.S. Milwaukee in Guantánamo Bay

Covid Outbreak Strands U.S.S. Milwaukee in Guantánamo Bay

A Navy fight ship deployed to intercept drug trafficking within the Caribbean and East Pacific is caught within the port at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, with a coronavirus outbreak amongst its totally vaccinated crew.

Solely a few of these contaminated onboard the ship, the usS. Milwaukee, had been experiencing gentle signs, mentioned Commander Kate Meadows, a Navy spokeswoman. It was not clear what number of infections concerned the Omicron variant, which continues to gain dominance quickly around the globe.

The crew held an open-air Christmas service on the pier on Saturday, which allowed the sailors to stay socially distanced and to observe public well being pointers, in accordance to Commander Meadows.

“They’re utilizing the open area and contemporary air for as many secure actions as they’ll,” she mentioned. “The cooks onboard are making a particular Christmas meal at the moment for everybody.”

The Milwaukee had greater than 100 sailors plus a helicopter fight crew and Coast Guard legislation enforcement unit on board when it left its house port in Jacksonville, Fla., on Dec. 14 as half of the U.S. Southern Command’s efforts to struggle drug trafficking. The ship made a refueling and resupply cease at Guantánamo Bay on Monday and prolonged its keep there due to the outbreak.

Commander Meadows added that the sailors had been confined to the pier and had not entered the bottom since arriving, sparing the small community at Guantánamo Bay the potential for being uncovered.

In a press release on Friday, the Navy mentioned that “the ship is following an aggressive mitigation technique” and that “the vaccine continues to exhibit effectiveness towards critical sickness” among the many crew.

Earlier than the Milwaukee left Florida, Brian A. Forster, the ship’s commanding officer, mentioned in a Navy news release that most of the crew members had been on their first deployment and “desperate to see the world and achieve missions.”

In March 2020, one of many army’s first encounters with the virus occurred aboard the plane provider Theodore Roosevelt. The ship docked in Guam, within the South Pacific, and ended up stranded there for months after dozens of sailors had been contaminated and one died. The ship’s commander on the time despatched a letter to Navy officers pleading for assist tackling the outbreak and criticizing the Navy’s failure to supply the right assets. He was removed from command of the ship after the episode.

Energetic-duty troops within the Military and Navy were fired this month over their refusal to get vaccinated after President Biden mandated vaccination for the armed providers in August. However there have been solely a small group of holdouts final week, with the Navy reporting that more than 98 percent of its members had been vaccinated.

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