- U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Kaylianna Genier
- As the coronavirus outbreak on the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt worsens, the Navy has pulled the ship into port, where it will test 100% of the flattop’s roughly 5,000 sailors.
- The Navy reported three cases, the first for a deployed warship, on Tuesday. Five more sailors on the Roosevelt tested positive on Wednesday. By Thursday, the number had reportedly climbed to nearly two dozen.
- The ship is currently in Guam and will remain pierside as the Navy tests the entire crew for the highly infectious coronavirus.
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There has been a coronavirus outbreak aboard a deployed US Navy aircraft carrier, and the situation is getting worse. In response, the Navy is pulling the ship into port and testing the entire crew.
“As testing continues, additional positive cases of COVID-19 have been discovered aboard USS Theodore Roosevelt,” Chief of Naval Operations Michael Gilday said Thursday.
Acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly reported Tuesday that “three cases of COVID-19 have been identified among personnel currently deployed and underway on the USS Theodore Roosevelt.” Those three cases marked the first aboard a deployed warship.
A Navy official told Insider on Wednesday that the number of infected sailors had risen to eight, as five more sailors had tested positive. By Thursday, the number of coronavirus cases aboard the carrier had climbed to nearly two dozen, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing defense officials.
“We found several more cases on board the ship,” Modly told reporters at the Pentagon on Thursday. “We are in the process now of testing 100% of the crew of that ship to ensure that we’re able to contain whatever spread might have occurred there.”
There are around 800 COVID-19 test kits on board, but more are being brought in. There are around 5,000 sailors aboard the carrier who will need to be tested. The first priority will be symptomatic sailors, individuals who have come into contact with infected sailors, and essential watch standers, Navy leadership said.
“We are taking this threat very seriously and are working quickly to identify and isolate positive cases while preventing further spread of the virus aboard the ship,” Gilday said.
The USS Theodore Roosevelt, nicknamed the “Big Stick,” is currently in Guam, where it was initially expected to make a port visit. While in port, sailors will not be permitted to leave the pier area, and base and regional personnel will not have access to the pier.
“The resources at our naval medical facilities in Guam will allow us to more effectively test, isolate, and if necessary treat Sailors,” the CNO said. ” We expect additional positive tests, and those Sailors who test positive will be transported to the US Naval Hospital Guam for further evaluation and treatment as necessary.”
Some infected sailors have already been taken off ship. Modly told reporters Thursday that none of the sailors who have been airlifted off the ship due to the coronavirus have been hospitalized, explaining that their present symptoms are “very mild.” He said there are “aches and pains” and “sore throats,” but nothing requiring hospitalization.
The acting secretary insisted that the ship remains operationally capable and able to fulfill its mission if necessary.
The Navy reported Thursday that 104 active-duty service members have been confirmed to have the coronavirus. That figure is more than one-third the 280 infected active-duty military personnel across the Department of Defense.