Navy Delays New Arrivals at Boot Camp for a Week after Recruit Tests Positive for COVID-19

Adm. James G. Foggo III receives the salute of graduating recruit divisions during their graduation ceremony.
Adm. James G. Foggo III receives the salute of graduating recruit divisions at Recruit Training Command during their graduation ceremony, Great Lakes, Il., Dec. 23, 2019.. (U.S. Navy/Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Amanda S. Kitchner)

This article by Jeff Schogol originally appeared on Task & Purpose, a digital news and culture publication dedicated to military and veterans issues. 

The Navy will not receive any new recruits at its boot camp in Great Lakes, Illinois, after one recruit tested positive for the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), said Cmdr. David Hecht, a spokesman for the Chief of Naval Personnel.

"There are no recruits that will be showing up this week," Hecht told Task & Purpose on Monday. "They will be moved to next week, and from there the arrival of recruits will continue on schedule."

USNI News editor Sam LaGrone first reported on Sunday that a Navy recruit at Great Lakes had tested positive for coronavirus.

Military health professionals are investigating whether any other recruits or staff members came in close contact with the recruit with coronavirus, Hecht said on Monday.

"The barracks and other areas that the recruit came in contact with are being thoroughly cleaned in accordance with CDC [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] disinfectant and sanitation guidelines," Hecht said.

News that the Navy is suspending the arrival of new recruits to Great Lakes came the same day that the Marine Corps announced it would not receive any new recruits at Parris Island, South Carolina.

All new Navy recruits have been asked to restrict their movements for two weeks before shipping to Great Lakes, Hecht said. Each recruit will have his or her health and temperature checked before shipping to Great Lakes.

The recruits will then be quarantined at Great Lakes for two weeks before beginning their training, he said.

Group sizes will be limited during training and the installation's active-duty staff will remain on the base for at least 30 days to decrease the chance of spreading the coronavirus, he said.

"We are trying to provide a 'protected bubble' as much as possible around our recruits and staff as possible," Hecht said.

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