Training has been halted for one company of U.S. Marine recruits in San Diego due to an outbreak of the novel coronavirus. Meanwhile, hundreds of other recruits continue to train on base, wearing face masks and social distancing.
Bravo Company, comprised of more than 200 recruits, arrived to MCRD San Diego on March 30 to begin their normal training, but after one team member tested positive the first week of April, all were quarantined in two-man for 14 days.
The recruits remain in quarantine but, as a new policy, all were to be tested before they could restart training, according to Capt. Martin Harris, Director of Communication Strategy and Operations for MCRD San Diego.
"As a result, several asymptomatic recruits have tested positive for COVID-19. All personnel that have tested positive are in isolation on MCRD San Diego, and none have required hospitalization," a statement from the U.S. Marine Corps said.
As of April 26, all recruits in Bravo Company had been tested. It was not clear how many were positive at that time. Harris had previously confirmed to NBC 7 that 11 recruits were positive on April 11.
The asymptomatic positives led MCRD to add additional measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, including testing of all recruits currently in quarantine and anyone who arrives at the depot in the future, whether or not they are symptomatic.
Previously, all recruits that arrived at the base were quarantined for 14 days before they could start training. That policy remains and each recruit undergoes several medical screenings a day. About 275 recruits with Echo Company also underwent this quarantine.
Harris said the increase in testing is possible thanks to the support of Navy Medical staff.
Separating recruits is a challenge due to the nature of the training at MCRD, so the number of trainees has been decreased in order to practice social distancing. Beds where the new recruits typically sleep now have been distanced six feet apart.