By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Kaysee Lohmann, USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) Public Affairs
ATLANTIC OCEAN (NNS) — Sailors aboard Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) recently helped prevent COVID-19 transmission by making masks for medical personnel and other Sailors on the frontline of the fight against the disease.
Truman, underway in the Atlantic Ocean, has no cases of COVID-19; the masks were made in preparation for Truman’s return to homeport.
The ship’s aircraft intermediate maintenance department, deck and medical departments coordinated mask production.
“We’re going home to a different environment, so it’s important for us to make preparations for the virus in order to maintain mission readiness and for Sailors to stay fit for full duty,” said Aircrew Survival Equipmentman 2nd Class Caitlin Schumacher, a Truman AIMD paraloft Sailor, who helped assemble masks.
Truman’s paraloft assembled the masks using local supplies provided by the ship’s medical department. According to Cmdr. Veronica Bigornia, Truman’s senior medical officer, making the masks is a smart use of Truman’s resources and demonstrates how ships can take actions to stay safe and accomplish the mission.
“The desired effect is to protect those Sailors in jobs that put them at higher risk of breathing in viral particles from other people,” said Bigornia. “These masks are important to cover the two main ways COVID-19 enters the body: your mouth and nose.”
Bigornia added that the masks were produced from Halyard H600 medical fabric, currently used by the ship’s medical department to wrap surgical instruments after use, before they go into a sterilizer.
“Truman Medical will utilize the masks to protect ourselves as we begin screening potentially exposed personnel prior to coming aboard,” said Bigornia. “These masks are as effective as the commercial N95 masks when worn correctly with a good seal and fit around the nose and mouth. The N95 rating means the mask blocks 95% of very small particles. Coronavirus is carried in respiratory droplets with a total size too large to get through an N95-rated mask.”
Due to Truman Sailors’ efforts, essential personnel aboard the ship will have high-quality personal protective equipment available for use as soon as it is needed.
The Harry S. Truman Carrier Strike Group (HSTCSG) remains at sea in the Atlantic as a certified carrier strike group force ready for tasking, in order to protect the crew from the risks posed by COVID-19, following their successful deployment to the U.S. 5th and 6th Fleet areas of operation.
Keeping HSTCSG at sea in U.S. 2nd Fleet, in the sustainment phase of OFRP, allows the ship to maintain a high level of readiness during the global COVID-19 pandemic.