Following Department of Defense requirements, Naval Base San Diego announced Wednesday it was putting into effect face covering protocols for all personnel to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Naval Base San Diego reported its first positive COVID-19 case on March 14, with a number of cases reported Navywide since then. To slow the spread of the virus, the Navy has been carrying out mitigation measures while maintaining fleet readiness, according to a base statement.
The base is home to 58 ships and more than 200 shore facilities where about 25,000 sailors work alongside more than 25,000 government civilians and contractors.
“The pre-COVID-19 21st century was already proving challenging, but this pandemic has added a new level of uncertainty to an already dynamic global landscape,” said Capt. Mark Nieswiadomy, the base’s commanding officer. “The effect could have potentially unforeseen consequences, which could threaten U.S. interests and our allies abroad. The U.S. Navy must remain ready to defend our nation and its interests.”
Nieswiadomy provides daily briefs to fellow leaders on the base about impacts to operations and shares information provided by the Department of Defense, senior Navy leadership and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to help them better prepare for mission impacts and to support the readiness of their sailors, civilians and families.
“My priority from day one has been to minimize the spread of the virus among those living, working and visiting my base, whether mission critical or not,” Nieswiadomy said. “But our most important mission right now is keeping the fleet as operationally ready as possible despite the impact this pandemic is having on everyone.”
Naval Base San Diego has been planning for weeks for an influx of “restriction of movement” sailors to be housed in living facilities on base, according to a Navy statement. Sailors placed on restricted movement have met at least one of the criteria requiring a 14-day quarantine period, such as coming from a location identified as high risk, or they have likely been exposed to COVID-19.
The base Fleet and Family Readiness Program has shifted operations to specific facilities to house ROM Sailors during their 14-day quarantine period.
Meals are delivered, along with anything else the sailor may need for daily care while on restricted movement.
“There are sailors living on base under the Homeport Ashore program. If these sailors get sick, they need a place where they won’t come in contact with other sailors, so we have set aside a number of rooms that can meet that requirement,” said Brandon Workman, director of the readiness program. “It’s definitely a team effort.”
— City News Service
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