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Some US Navy sailors spent Christmas quarantining in a hotel in Guantánamo Bay after testing positive for COVID-19

The New York Times reported that 25% of the USS Milwaukee’s 105 crew had tested positive.

Drew Angerer/Getty Images

  • US Navy crew quarantined in a Guantánamo Bay hotel at Christmas after testing positive for COVID-19.
  • A spokesperson told The NYT some sailors were moved to the hotel due to lack of space on their ship.
  • The outlet reported that 25% of the USS Milwaukee’s 105 crew had tested positive.

Some US Navy crew quarantined in a hotel in Guantánamo Bay over Christmas after testing positive for COVID-19, a spokesperson told The New York Times.

The combat ship USS Milwaukee left Jacksonville, Florida, on December 14 and docked at a port at the naval station in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, on December 20. The trip was a scheduled port visit to restock on fuel and supplies, The Times reported.

The ship has remained there after some sailors tested positive.

The Navy said in a statement on December 24 that “all COVID-19 positive sailors are isolated on board and away from other crew members.”

Commander Kate Meadows, spokesperson for the Fourth Fleet in Jacksonville, reiterated on Saturday – Christmas Day – that none of the crew members had been allowed to leave the ship and adjoining pier.

The Times reported that the ship held an open-air, socially distanced Christmas service on the pier and chefs on board served a holiday meal.

But Meadows told The Times on Thursday that some asymptomatic sailors had been removed from the ship and put in quarantine in a base hotel before Christmas Day, “due to limited berthing.”

A Navy official told the outlet that five sailors had been moved, though Meadows declined to give a number.

Nikki Maxwell, a spokesperson for the base, told The Times that the sailors hadn’t had contact with base staff and that their rooms had signs to show that the occupants were quarantining.

The Times reported that the ship had departed Jacksonville with 105 sailors onboard, and that around 25% had tested positive.

The Navy said on December 24 that “a portion of those infected” had shown mild symptoms. All crew members were vaccinated, it said.

The US Navy and the head of emergency management at the Guantánamo Bay naval base did not immediately reply to Insider’s request for comment.

Meadows told The Times on Thursday that officials hadn’t established which coronavirus variant the sailors had.

The Omicron variant has become the dominant coronavirus strain in the US. Studies suggest that Omicron is more transmissible than previous variants and is capable of partially evading immunity provided by vaccines and prior infection.

The US has been pushing people to get booster doses as coronavirus cases across the US soar. A third of fully vaccinated Americans have received a booster dose, federal data shows.

Dawn Grimes, a spokesperson for the Guantánamo Bay base hospital, told The Times on Sunday that the ship had requested COVID-19 vaccine booster doses from the hospital to administer to some crew on board.

Photos shared on Facebook on Wednesday show the ship’s crew receiving the doses.

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