Navy Reservist, Miramar Marine Test Positive for Coronavirus; 2nd Marine Under Watch at Camp Pendleton

March 12, 2020 7:56 PM - Updated: March 19, 2020 12:19 PM
Marine Corps Photo

A Marine stationed at Miramar Marine Corps Air Station in San Diego, Calif., tested positive for the COVID-19 coronavirus and is being isolated while receiving treatment, I Marine Expeditionary Force officials announced Thursday.

A second Marine, stationed at Camp Pendleton, Calif., is being restricted at the base as a precaution and is being checked daily by medical officials, I MEF officials said in a news release. The identities of the Marines were not released.

Meanwhile, Navy officials announced Thursday that a naval reservist in Maine has initially tested “presumed positive” for the COVID-19 virus and was in quarantine at home, marking the first case of a naval reservist suspected to be infected by the novel coronavirus.

“Personnel that the individual immediately identified having close contact with have been notified and are in self-isolation at their residence,” officials said in a statement. “Health professionals are conducting a thorough contact investigation to determine whether any other personnel may have been in close contact and possibly exposed. Depending on the results of that investigation, additional precautionary measures may be taken.”

The test results of the Marine at Miramar have been sent to the CDC for confirmation, and the Marine at Camp Pendleton has been tested but “that test has not yet returned results,” said Lt. Brian Tuthill, a I MEF spokesman told USNI News.

“The Marines recently returned together from leave in the Washington state area and self-reported feeling ill to U.S. Navy medical personnel,” I MEF officials said in the release. “A thorough contact investigation is underway to identify personnel who have been in close contact with either Marine. At this time no other personnel who had contact have shown symptoms.”

“The medical clinic that first conducted the COVID-19 screening has been sanitized, and Marines and sailors across I MEF continue to follow hygiene and sanitation guidelines from the CDC. All service members are required to self-report to medical personnel if they suspect they are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms,” officials said.

Miramar has been hosting hundreds of civilian passengers who were aboard two cruise ships that reported to have COV19 infections and who were brought to the air station under a 14-day federal quarantine.

But MEF officials said neither Marine had any contact with the group evacuated from the Grand Princess cruise ship,” whose passengers arrived at the air station this week from Oakland and are “currently in isolation.”

MEF officials vowed to continue monitoring the situation and working with subordinate commands, Navy medical officials, naval hospitals and federal agencies to mitigate any potential spread of COVID-19, also known as novel coronavirus.

“We are taking every precaution to preserve the integrity of our warfighting forces, and stand ready to protect the health of our Marines, sailors, family members, civilian employees and our local communities,” said Lt. Gen. Joseph Osterman, who commands the 50,000-member force headquartered at Camp Pendleton. “We understand the severity of this situation and are deliberate in our actions to help diminish the impact of COVID-19, but this has in no way degraded our operational readiness or the ability of our forces to rapidly deploy in support of missions in defense of our nation.”

Marine Corps Installations-West officials also are providing additional information about COVID-19 at its website:, via the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Gidget Fuentes

Gidget Fuentes

Gidget Fuentes is a freelance writer based in San Diego, Calif. She has spent more than 20 years reporting extensively on the Marine Corps and the Navy, including West Coast commands and Pacific regional issues.

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