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Huntington Ingalls Reports Two COVID-19 Cases at Newport News

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USS George Washington at Newport News Shipbuilding, September 2019 (USN file image)

By The Maritime Executive 03-24-2020 02:51:04

The defense shipbuilder Huntington Ingalls Industries reported Monday that it has recorded its first two cases of the novel coronavirus at Newport News Shipbuilding (NNS) in Virginia and one case at Ingalls Shipbuilding in Mississippi. 

The first case at NNS has not been at the facility since March 16, and the individual is are now recovering in isolation. NNS has been actively cleaning and sanitizing the yard, including the building where the first case worked - especially bathrooms, railings, vending machines and elevators in the immediate area of the employee’s workspace. The communal eating areas in that building are also now restricted. 

Shortly after, HII confirmed a second case at Newport News, and it anticipates that the number will grow. 

"Because the number of COVID-19 confirmed cases in Hampton Roads has grown to more than 250, we fully expect to have more positive cases at NNS over the next several months, and we have been planning accordingly," said NNS president Jennifer Boykin in a social media post. "My commitment to you is that as we learn of new cases, our medical team will directly communicate with our employees who may have been put at risk, and we will assess the need for additional cleaning."

Those who were in contact with the two individuals have been advised to call the company's clinic for guidance. 

The individual who tested positive for COVID-19 at Ingalls Shipbuilding was assigned to the work on the USS Fort Lauderdale. The worker will now be in isolation for at least two weeks and will not return to work until medically cleared. 

Both NNS and Ingalls Shipbuilding are critical for the national defense, and as essential businesses, they have remained open despite shutdowns in neighboring communities. "While today's national emergency is being fought with healthcare workers and quarantines, our ships and sailors could be on the front lines tomorrow," said Boykin in a recent message to employees.