Hospital Corpsman 1st Class Ernesto Santa Ana works in a laboratory aboard the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt. Navy photo

The Navy has sent medical teams with advanced testing equipment to three 7th Fleet ships to screen for coronavirus disease COVID-19.

Teams are now embarked aboard the San Diego-based aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt, amphibious assault ship USS America, and USS Blue Ridge, the 7th Fleet flagship, to batch test sailors who present with influenza-like symptoms.

Batch testing provides early warning that coronavirus is present on a ship but does not individually diagnose sailors. If a batch were to test positive for COVID-19, the medical teams would take additional measures, such as isolating the sailors whose samples were in the batch or medically evacuating them.

The Navy stressed that to date, no cases of COVID-19 have been diagnosed aboard any vessel in the 7th Fleet .

“The team here in 7th Fleet has taken COVID-19 seriously from the beginning and has many public health measures already in place,” said Capt. Christine Sears, 7th Fleet surgeon.

The teams comprise a variety of specialized Navy Medicine personnel and may include a microbiologist, medical laboratory technician, preventive medicine officer, and preventive medicine technician.

The 7th Fleet is the Navy’s largest forward-deployed force, with up to 70 ships and submarines and 140 aircraft manned by 20,000 sailors.

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Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.