All Sailors On US Aircraft Carrier To Be Tested For

Remigio Civitarese
Marzo 27, 2020

As the coronavirus outbreak on the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt worsens, the Navy has chose to test 100% of the flattop's roughly 5,000 sailors.

"There were three [crew members who] initial [ly tested positive], there were five more that were flown off the ship or in the process of being flown off the ship, and then there are several others that are in isolation right now", Acting Secretary of the Navy Thomas Modly said Thursday at the Pentagon.

The San Diego-based Roosevelt had been deployed in the Pacific and completed a port visit to Da Nang, Vietnam, on March 9.

On Tuesday, three sailors on the same vessel became the first reported coronavirus cases on a Navy ship at sea.

The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday that eight sailors on the Roosevelt have tested positive for COVID-19, up from three announced the day before.

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 is a major cause of concern for defense officials, as the tight quarters in aircraft carriers hold the potential for even more infections among the ship's crew. "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".

By Thursday, the number of infected sailors shot up to 23, according to two USA officials.

"We are trending higher", Modly said, adding it was too early to say why that was the case.

The Roosevelt has about 800 test kits on board and "we're flying more on there today", he said. He said there are "aches and pains" and "sore throats", but nothing requiring hospitalization.

Aquilino also said that because he was asymptomatic, he hasn't been tested for the virus.

Modly said the carrier could do a small amount of the testing of samples taken from crew members for the virus, but that the Navy was looking into which other labs could do the tests.

Tara Copp is the national military and veterans affairs correspondent for McClatchy. She was previously the Pentagon bureau chief for Military Times and a senior defense analyst for the U.S. Government Accountability Office.

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