US Army quarantines members of survival training course after one tests positive for coronavirus

The US Army said Tuesday that it has quarantined 90 students and personnel with its Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape course at Fort Bragg in North Carolina after an individual in the course tested positive for coronavirus.

The course trains military personnel in survival skills that include evading capture as well as other methods and techniques in order to escape from captivity if captured behind enemy lines.

“The health and wellness of our students and staff is our top priority,” said Maj. Gen. Patrick Roberson, commanding general of the US Army John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School at Fort Bragg and commandant of the school, in a statement Tuesday. “We will do everything we can to protect our students and their families.”

As of Monday morning, 11,770 members of the military, including 3,551 members of the Army, had tested positive for coronavirus, according to a Defense Department tally.

The Fort Bragg case comes after the Army has previously struggled to contain the virus within its ranks.

CNN previously reported that, according to an internal directive from March, the Army said mitigation efforts to blunt the spread of the coronavirus had “proven insufficient” within the service and that it was suspending “non-mission essential functions,” including some noncritical training of units in the field and physical fitness training involving large numbers of troops.

Defense Secretary Mark Esper had originally indicated he would trust local commanders to make decisions. But as reports grew that bases were still holding large gatherings, he ordered further restrictions across the department on nonessential activities.

The Army is not the only military branch that has faced significant struggles in responding to coronavirus.

The fallout from an outbreak aboard the USS Theodore Roosevelt, which spread to more than 1,000 crew members before the Navy ceased publishing data on the number of infected sailors, sparked a major controversy within the Navy, leading to former acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly’s resignation in April. Two US defense officials told CNN last month that nearly 100 sailors from the US Navy destroyer USS Kidd had tested positive for coronavirus.