Newport News Shipbuilding adds another confirmed case of COVID-19 as workers voice concerns

Coronavirus
170622-N-N2201-140_1530014062769

170622-N-N2201-140 NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (June 22, 2017) A crane moves the lower stern into place on the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS John F. Kennedy (CVN 79) at Huntington Ingalls Shipbuilding in Newport News, Va. John F. Kennedy is the second Gerald R. Ford-class aircraft carrier which is now 50 percent structurally complete. (U.S. Navy photo/Released)

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WAVY) — Newport News Shipbuilding reported one additional confirmed case of COVID-19 as workers voice their concerns.

As of Saturday morning, an additional confirmed case of COVID-19 was reported at Newport News Shipbuilding, bringing the total number of cases at the state’s largest industrial employer to 21.

President Jennifer Boykin announced the news on social media stating that the 21st case, an employee in the Mid-Yard section of the shipyard, last reported to work on Wednesday, April 8.

As new cases pop up, shipyard workers are making their concerns heard regarding “unrealistic” practices at the shipyard to combat the coronavirus.

A machinist at the shipyard, who does not want to be identified, told 10 On Your Side that the 6-foot distancing is unrealistic when you consider actual distances when building machines of war.

The unnamed machinist says the region needs to prepare for an illness that will affect shipyard workers, contractors, members of the military and families.

“The sickness could spread to their families and their children, their loved ones and whoever else that they are taking care of, so this is going to be catastrophic pretty soon.”

Jennifer Boykin issued a statement to explain why officials believe the yard must remain open.

“We have been identified by the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Defense and the U.S. Navy as a critical and mission-essential industry that supports national security. We are doing everything we can to balance the safety of our workforce with this important responsibility to remain open for our Nation.”

In Norfolk, a government contractor working at BAE Systems Norfolk Ship Repair died from complications related to coronavirus, officials reported on Friday.

The contractor worked aboard the USS Bulkeley. He last worked at the shipyard on March 26, according to a letter written by Dave Thomas, vice president and general manager of Norfolk Ship Repair.


Here’s a breakdown of the cases reported so far:

Friday: April 10

  • Employee, Trailer 127 & Bldg. 4677/MOF (Bay 2), Mid-Yard; last time at NNS: April 8, 2020

Thursday, April 9

  • Employee, Ship at Pier 3 (Space: 03-220-3-L), South Yard; last time at NNS: April 8, 2020

Wednesday, April 8

  • Employee, Bldg. 4900/SMOF (Bays 5/6/7), Mid-Yard; last time at NNS: April 3, 2020
  • Employee, Bldg. 27, Mid-Yard; last time at NNS: April 6, 2020
  • Employee, Bldg. 1865/CMAF (East), North Yard; last time at NNS: April 2, 2020
  • Employee, Bldg. 4677/MOF (Bay 3 East), Mid-Yard; last time at NNS: March 19, 2020

Tuesday, April 7

  • No new positive cases reported.

Monday, April 6

  • Employee, Bldg. 903-5, Off-Yard Office (2800 Huntington Ave.); last time at NNS: March 13, 2020

Sunday, April 5

  • Employee, Pier 3 Office (Bent 55), South Yard; last time at NNS: March 27, 2020

Saturday, April 4

  • Employee, Ring Module Shop, North Yard; last time at NNS: April 3, 2020

Friday, April 3

  • Employee, Bldg. 4558 (East), Mid-Yard; last time at NNS: April 2, 2020
  • Employee, Bldg. 600-2, Off-Yard Office (39th St. & Marshall Ave.); last time at NNS: March 23, 2020

Thursday, April 2

  • Employee, Bldg. 902-2, Off-Yard Office (2700 Huntington Ave.); last time at NNS: March 24, 2020

Wednesday, April 1

  • Contractor, Bldg. 600-2, Off-Yard Office (39th St. & Marshall Ave.); last time at NNS: March 26, 2020
  • Employee, CVN 73 (Space: 7-84-0-M), which is located in the North Yard; last time at NNS: March 30, 2020
  • Employee, Bldg. 4931-1, Mid-Yard; last time at NNS: March 30, 2020

Tuesday, March 31

  • Employee, Off-Yard Office (West Park Lane); last time at NNS: March 27, 2020

Monday, March 30

  • No new positive cases reported.

Sunday, March 29

  • No new positive cases reported.

Saturday, March 28

  • Employee, Bldg. 600-1, Off-Yard Office (39th St. and Marshall Ave.); last time at NNS: March 13, 2020

Friday, March 27

  • No new positive cases reported.

Thursday, March 26

  • Navy Personnel, Bldg. 4931-2/MOF Facility (Bay 1); Mid-Yard, last time at NNS: March 17, 2020

Wednesday, March 25

  • No new positive cases reported.

Tuesday, March 24

  • Government Civilian, Bldg. 2, Off-Yard Office, South Yard Area; last time at NNS: March 16, 2020

Monday, March 23

  • Employee, Bldg. 600-2, Off-Yard Office (39th St. and Marshall Ave.); last time at NNS: March 16, 2020
  • Employee, Bldg. 4931-1, Mid-Yard; last time at NNS: March 16, 2020

While the shipyard is continuing to stay open because its work is considered “mission essential,” it is changing some policies to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus. On Wednesday, the shipyard updated its liberal leave fact sheet and changed its policy on dock time. They are now allowing it for salaried employees.

Starting April 4, NNS is changing its reporting structure in accordance to the Department of Defense guidance regarding naval personnel and ships

  • Government civilians, Navy personnel and contractors will now be categorized a “non-NNS employed person.”
  • Cases at other sites where NNS employees work will be tracked by that local site and communicated through the local NNS leadership team.

Visit the links below for updated information:

Huntington Ingalls updates and extends ‘liberal leave’ policy for Newport News Shipbuilding and other divisions.

Liberal Leave Fact Sheet: Click HERE

Pay and Benefits Guidance (to include dock time): Click HERE

Follow-up on recent NNS coverage and daily Virginia coronavirus updates.

The shipyard provides updates on new cases every day before noon, including Saturdays and Sundays. 

“Each new entry will include as much information as possible according to employee confidentiality laws and will indicate when it was posted or updated. Confidentiality laws prohibit us from disclosing the identities of any individuals,” according to NNS officials. “Any individual who has tested positive will be quarantined, and anyone believed to be at risk for exposure will be contacted and asked to self-quarantine.”


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