An enlisted sailor at Naval Base Point Loma tested “presumptive positive” on Sunday for the new strain of coronavirus.
That brings to three the number of sailors in San Diego County believed to have contracted COVID-19. The results are considered “presumptive positive” because they have not been certified by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“If people suspect that they might have been in close contact with someone who was sick, or you are feeling sick, please speak to a medical provider and your chain of command," said Navy Region Southwest spokesman Brian O’Rourke.
Quarantined off base, the latest patient is not assigned to one of the fast attack submarines homeported at Point Loma.
He was treated by Naval Medical Center San Diego personnel and his test conducted by the Naval Health Research Center.
He showed no symptoms before he tested positive, officials said. Investigators suspect his case is tied the first presumptive positive results for a sailor at Naval Base San Diego.
Although known for the warships that line its piers, Naval Base San Diego is also a major training site. Training Support Center San Diego is the central hub of support for Naval Education and Training Command efforts across the entire Pacific Rim, including instruction for surface warfare, submarine, security force, naval aviation and information warfare students.
Military medical workers are performing an ongoing contact investigation, tracing how the disease spread from patient to patient.
On Tuesday, investigators determined that Training Support Command is linked to a sailor on the amphibious warship Boxer who had attended a course there.
Those who have been exposed to all three sailors have been ordered to confine themselves to their residences or quarters and self-monitor for symptoms of coronavirus.
Depending on the results of the investigations, additional precautionary measures might be taken, officials added.
“Naval Base Point Loma is committed to taking every measure possible to protect the health of our force. We remain in close coordination with state and federal authorities, and public health authorities to ensure the well-being of our personnel and local population,” a prepared statement emailed to Navy Times said.
While O’Rourke could not discuss specific details about any of the cases, he told Navy Times that his region is implementing a series of escalating steps to stop the spread of the disease.
With San Diego schools and universities shuttered and restaurants closing as people try to avoid social contact amid a global pandemic, Navy leaders are prodding uniformed and civilian personnel to begin teleworking from home, shifting their schedules and staying out of cramped offices, O’Rourke said.
“Our goal at the base and throughout the region is to send as many people home as we can while still supporting the fleet, which is our primary mission,” he said.
Navy Times editor’s note: This story has been updated to show that investigators determined that at least two of the three San Diego County cases involving sailors are linked to the NETC schoolhouse at Naval Base San Diego.
Prine came to Navy Times after stints at the San Diego Union-Tribune and Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. He served in the Marine Corps and the Pennsylvania Army National Guard. His awards include the Joseph Galloway Award for Distinguished Reporting on the military, a first prize from Investigative Reporters & Editors and the Combat Infantryman Badge.