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USCG Training Center Cape May Reports First COVID-19 Cases

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New recruits meet their company commander at a ceremony at U.S. Coast Guard Training Center Cape May, June 4, 2020 (USCG)

By The Maritime Executive 06-09-2020 05:12:00

The U.S. Coast Guard's training center at Cape May, the service's only entry point for enlisted personnel, has identified its first cases of COVID-19.

On June 3, a cohort of recruits were tested as part of the training center's medical surveillance and restriction of movement plan for all incoming candidates. One test came back positive on June 6. The recruit - who is asymptomatic - has been isolated and remains in quarantine in accordance with CDC guidance and Coast Guard response plans. The on-base clinic reported the test results to federal, state and local health officials.

Separately, a civilian staff member from the center tested positive in late May and self-isolated. Thanks to contact tracing, the staff member had already been quarantined after exposure to a COVID case outside of the center. The staffer had no contact with other base personnel during this quarantine period and has since tested negative again. 

The center has identified the recruits and personnel that were in contact with these two cases, and it says that it continues to screen, isolate, and treat all personnel as needed. “Our number one goal at Training Center Cape May is the safety of our staff, recruits and families,” said Capt. Kathy Felger, the commanding officer of Training Center Cape May. “The response to these two cases . . . was handled professionally and in accordance with all current CDC and Coast Guard guidance. We will continue to monitor all staff and recruits to ensure the health and safety of all of our members and the community.”

Training Center Cape May has implemented a full range of COVID-19 preventive measures, including a two-week restriction of movement policy for incoming recruits and a much more rigorous sanitation plan. Visitors on base are prohibited and families are no longer allowed to attend recruit graduation ceremonies. Immediately after graduation, recruits are sent directly to their first units without leave.