Three U.S. sailors aboard the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt returned a positive diagnosis for Chinese coronavirus Tuesday, the first cases reported on a deployed U.S. Navy ship.
Evacuation of the three has been completed and all those they had come into contact with on the vessel, which has more than 5,000 personnel on board, have been quarantined, Acting Navy Secretary Thomas B. Modly said.
Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Mike Gilday declined to say where the carrier was now or what DoD hospital the sailors were flown to.
Recent images show the carrier in the Philippine Sea, where it conducted at-sea exercises with Marine Corps and Air Force assets last week.
The ship was last in port in Vietnam 15 days ago but Gilday said it was difficult to connect the cases to a particular port visit.
“We took great precautions when the crew came back from that shore visit, and did enhanced medical screenings of the crew,” he said.
Overall, the Navy has 86 active cases of COVID-19 as of Tuesday: 57 are Navy military personnel, 13 are Navy civilians, 11 are dependents and five are Navy contractors, as it ramps up efforts to protect all serving personnel.
USNI News reports the Navy is looking at how the sailors on Theodore Roosevelt could have contracted the disease so that the sea service can implement best practices for the 100 other ships deployed around the globe today.
“In each of these cases, whenever we have a positive on any ship or in any unit, we’re doing the forensics on each one of those cases and trying to understand what kind of best practices or the do’s and the don’t’s we can quickly promulgate fleet-wide. So I don’t have a better answer for you other than to say we’re on it,” Gilday told USNI News during a question and answer session.
Last week Breitbart News reported on a similar case aboard the USS Boxer.
“A Sailor assigned to the amphibious assault ship USS Boxer (LHD 4) tested ‘presumptive positive’ for Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), marking the first case for a sailor aboard a Navy ship,” the Navy said in a statement at the time.
Boxer and the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit returned to California in November from an eight-month deployment to the Middle East and Indo-Pacific.
AFP contributed to this story