Due to increases in COVID-19 cases, The U.S. Navy has ordered the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt to pull into Guam and have its 5,000 crew of sailors tested for the novel coronavirus. The USS Theodore Roosevelt docked Apra Harbor shortly after 9 am on 27th March.
The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday (26 March) that 23 sailors on the Roosevelt have tested positive for COVID-19, up from 8 on Wednesday (25 March) and three announced on Tuesday (24 March).
The carrier was in the midst of a deployment to the Phillippine and South China seas when it was ordered to ship to Guam. It’s unclear how long it will remain there, but the move cuts the number of carriers in the region by half.
Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) of the U.S. Navy made a statement about this issue on official website of the U.S. Navy. “As testing continues, additional positive cases of COVID-19 have been discovered aboard USS Theodore Roosevelt. 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. No Sailors have been hospitalized or are seriously ill.” CNO said.
“Our medical team aboard USS Theodore Roosevelt is performing testing for the crew consistent with CDC guidelines, and we are working to increase the rate of testing as much as possible. Immediate priority will be symptomatic Sailors, those in close contact with Sailors who have tested positive already, and essential watch standers. We are isolating those who test positive. Testing will continue as necessary to ensure the health of the entire ship’s crew. In addition, the medical staff will continue to actively monitor the health of the crew. Deep cleaning of the ship’s spaces is also ongoing.” CNO added.
“USS Theodore Roosevelt is in Guam on a previously-scheduled port visit. The resources at our naval medical facilities in Guam will allow us to more effectively test, isolate, and if necessary treat Sailors. We expect additional positive tests, and those Sailors who test positive will be transported to the U.S. Naval Hospital Guam for further evaluation and treatment as necessary. During the port visit, base access will be limited to the pier for Roosevelt’s Sailors. No base or regional personnel will access the pier.” CNO stated.
The ship was last in port in Vietnam more than two weeks ago. It is not clear where the sailors initially contracted the virus. The Navy is now in the process of flying all personnel off the ship.