COVID-19 concerns saw the HMCS Regina directed back to port shortly after leaving CFB Esquimalt. A member who may have been exposed to the virus has since tested negative. (Black Press Media file photo)

Potential COVID-19 exposure sends warship back to CFB Esquimalt port

Member has since tested negative for virus

A COVID-19 exposure scare saw a Royal Canadian Navy warship return to CFB Esquimalt two days after leaving the base.

On March 20, a member from the HMCS Regina learned that a close family member may have been exposed to the virus, according to the Department of National Defence (DND).

That member reported the potential exposure prior to the ship sailing and was then isolated on base for testing. DND says “stringent medical protocols were followed to reduce the risk of further spread of any illness.”

READ MORE COVID-19 COVERAGE HERE

While awaiting test results, the HMCS Regina – which had sailed out on March 21 as part of ‘high readiness training’ – was directed to return to CFB Esquimalt in lieu of a scheduled fuel stop. The crew remained on board to limit the potential of community exposure and risk to future operations.

The member has since tested negative for COVID-19.

DND says senior leadership is committed to balancing requirements to complete critical tasks in support of planned operations while working with health care professionals to enforce protection measures during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Additionally, HMCS Nanaimo and HMCS Whitehorse will both return to their home base of CFB Esquimalt earlier than planned in light of COVID-19. The ships, which were part of a U.S.-led campaign against illicit trafficking, were initially scheduled to return in mid-May and are now expected to arrive in early April.

READ ALSO: Esquimalt-based HMCS Regina makes fourth drug bust in Middle East



nina.grossman@blackpress.ca

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