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Navy issues coronavirus guidance for San Diego bases

Increased health screening measures are in place at San Diego bases to help stop the spread of coronavirus. Some sailors and civilians will work from home.

SAN DIEGO — San Diego’s Navy bases are encouraging civilians and sailors to work from home, if possible, during the coronavirus outbreak. Navy Region Southwest increased the Health Protection Condition to protect ships, sailors and civilians.

The decision changes identification methods at entry gates, requires visitors to complete a health questionnaire, and increases cleaning schedules. Bases will remain open.

“Our people live in the same neighborhoods with everyone else so of course we have a role in this and have to help flatten that curve that everyone else is working on,” said Navy Spokesman Brian O’Rourke.

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Two local sailors have tested presumptive positive for coronavirus. One worked at Naval Base San Diego and another was serving on the USS Boxer. They are the first sailors in the Navy on a warship to test presumptive positive.

Commanding officers have stressed to sailors they should stay home if sick and not try to work through an illness.

“We’re consistently reminding everyone. It’s several times a day that we’re having the conversation that ‘look this is different. If you’re sick, stay home’,” said O’Rourke.

Still, the Navy emphasized it is still ready and able to respond to missions, if needed, despite the recent guidance. The goal is to keep bases open for the fleet and runways open for its planes.

“The Navy is most definitely not shutting down,” said O’Rourke. “We have critical Navy missions that we have to meet. Those don’t stop.”

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