Huntington Ingalls Industries’ [HII] disclosed 12 total cases of COVID-19 at its Newport News and Ingalls Shipbuilding facilities by Monday, up from two by March 23.
Jennifer Boykin, president of Newport News Shipbuilding (NNS), confirmed that facility’s five total cases on March 29.
According to a company website listing details on NNS cases, the specific personnel infected so far include: an employee who worked in Building 4931-1, Mid-Yard who was last at NNS on March 16; employee worked in Building 600-2 at the Off-Yard Office and was last at NNS on March 16; a government civilian worked at Building 2 Off-Yard Office, South Yard Area and was last at NNS on March 16; Navy personnel who worked at Building 4931-2/MOF Facility (Bay 1) in Mid-Yard and was last at NNS March 17; and an employee who worked at Building 600-1 at the Off-Yard Office and was last at NNS on March 13.
“I remain committed to keeping you informed of this ever-evolving situation. Going forward, I will share a weekly status report each Friday summarizing all cases at NNS. New cases will continue to be posted once a day, before noon, including Saturdays and Sundays at nns.huntingtoningalls.com/411-updates, and I encourage you to visit the website for daily updates,” Boykin said in a statement.
The company website listing COVID-19 cases apparently crashed on Friday due to volume of visits but Boykin said they have since increased the capacity of the website.
Last week, after the first NNS employee was confirmed to have COVID-19, Boykin said it was increasing sanitizing high-touch points in the first employee’s building for a week (Defense Daily, March 23).
Separately, Ingalls Shipbuilding in Pascagoula, Miss., reported seven personnel know to have COVID-19 as of March 29.
According to a separate the Ingalls’ website listing its own COVID-19 case information, the personnel include one employee who worked at LPD-29 and was last in the yard on March 20; an employee who worked at CSA 2nd shift and was last in the yard March 20; another employee who worked at CSA and was last in the yard on March 20; an employee who worked at NSC-9 and was last in the yard March 20; an employee who worked on LPD-29 and last was in the yard March 21; an employee working on DDG-125 who was last in the yard March 25; and an employee who worked on NSC-9 and was last in the yard March 20.
On Monday, Ingalls noted that due to extended school closures the company was extending its liberal leave policy through May 1. This means employees can take paid time off, vacation, and unpaid leave without the threat of losing their job.
Last week, Ingalls Shipbuilding President Brian Cuccias said employees who has close contact with his yard’s first case were self-quarantining and the company had cleaned relevant spaces on LPD-29.
HII spokeswoman Beci Brenton told Defense Daily in an email that the company is “taking actions that are designed with the health and safety of our employees at the forefront of our decision making, and this extends across the enterprise.”
She also noted the company is redesigning how they do work in production facilities in accordance with CDC guidance on social distancing “and conducting extensive and continual cleaning of high touch areas.”
Brenton also said HII is still a mission-essential industry as directed by the Defense and Homeland Security departments.
In a March 20 memo, Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment Ellen Lord told contractors while they should follow health and safety guidance issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and state and local authorities they are required to keep working as critical workers for essential government purposes (Defense Daily, March 20).
“Those needs have not changed…staying operational continues that important support which extends to our thousands of suppliers in nearly every state. We’re committed to continuing to do this important work while continuing to safeguard our workforce,” Brenton added.