A 35-year old sailor died of COVID-19 related complications on Saturday, according to the Navy.
Lt. Ivy Quintana-Martinez, who was assigned to Navy Reserve Center San Diego, has been battling COVID-19 at Cedar Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles since Nov. 10, the Navy said.
“Our thoughts and prayers remain with the family, shipmates and friends of Lt. Quintana-Martinez during this extremely difficult time,” the Navy said in a news release. “Anyone experiencing COVID-related symptoms is encouraged to seek medical attention immediately.”
This is at least the 17th sailor who has died due to COVID-19 complications, and at least 80 service members have died from COVID-19 complications across the services, according to figures from the Pentagon updated Dec. 15.
That number rises to 625 when factoring in service members, civilians, dependents and contractors.
Service members are facing a mandatory vaccination policy, and active duty sailors had to become fully vaccinated by Nov. 28. Sailors in the Navy Reserve have a Dec. 28 deadline.
Those who fail to comply with the policy and do not receive an exemption face a series of administrative actions, such as losing out on education benefits, promotions and bonus pay. Likewise, the Navy will separate sailors who reject the COVID-19 vaccine.
The Navy has approved a total of seven permanent medical exemptions, 296 temporary medical exemptions, and 216 administrative exemptions among active duty sailors. No permanent medical exemptions have been approved for those in the Navy Reserve, and no religious waivers across the force have been granted.