ST. MARYS, Ga. – Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay confirmed to News4Jax on Friday that an employee has tested positive for COVID-19.
The employee is self-quarantining at home, according to a base spokesperson, who said additional details could not be released about the coronavirus case.
News4Jax has learned that sailors and civilians employees at the base were notified of the positive test via email. The correspondence stated that the employee, who is from Shop 38 and assigned to the USS Alaska, has not been at work since March 25.
The captain wrote that it was determined eleven mechanics met close-contact criteria in this case and they have been sent home to quarantine. The email said there’s low risk of infection for anyone else associated with the Alaska Project.
A sailor who spoke with News4Jax on the condition of anonymity expressed concerns about the situation. They said working in close quarters on a submarine means there is no way to maintain a social distance of six feet between each person.
News4Jax asked a base spokesperson the following questions: How does a worker commit to the six-foot rule to stay safe on a submarine? Are workers being provided masks or other protective gear? Why wasn’t the surrounding community notified?
In response to those questions, News4Jax was told to contact the Pentagon.
The email mentioned above noted that other shop personnel working on the infected employee’s shift did not have close contact, no one else in the shop has symptoms of COVID-19, and an inspection and decontamination of is taking place on site.
In the email, Kings Bay’s leadership said they are taking every measure possible to protect the health of those on base.