Warship Deployment Delayed After Outbreak Among Vaccinated Crew

A U.S. Navy warship postponed deploying to South America last week following an outbreak of COVID-19 among its vaccinated crew.

USS Milwaukee, a littoral combat ship, remained in port at Naval Station Guantanamo Bay after some of its sailors tested positive for the virus according to a Friday announcement from the U.S. Navy.

"The crew is 100% immunized and all COVID-19 positive sailors are isolated onboard and away from other crew members," the release explained. "A portion of those infected have exhibited mild symptoms."

The press release also touted that the "vaccine continues to demonstrate effectiveness against serious illness."

The Navy had set Nov. 28 as the deadline for all service members to receive vaccination against COVID-19. More than 98% of all active-duty sailors have been fully vaccinated.

The Navy did not disclose how many of the ship’s 100 people had tested positive, but said the ship "is following an aggressive mitigation strategy in accordance with Navy and CDC guidelines."

The USS Milwaukee began its deployment from Mayport, Fla., on Dec. 14 and was scheduled to head to the U.S. Southern Command region until the outbreak.

The first major outbreak of COVID-19 among members of the military was in early 2020 when the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt had to stay in Guam for about two months after more than 1,000 of its 4,800-member crew tested positive. One sailor on that ship subsequently died from the disease.

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