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Three coronavirus cases were confirmed Tuesday aboard the USS Theodore Roosevelt, marking the first coronavirus outbreak aboard a deployed U.S. warship.
“Three cases of Covid-19 have been identified among personnel currently deployed and underway on the USS Theodore Roosevelt, these are our first three cases of Covid-19 on a ship that is deployed,” said acting Secretary of the Navy Thomas Modlyduring a Pentagon briefing on Tuesday.
The three sailors were evacuated from the ship in the Philippine Sea and flown to a military hospital for treatment. Other personnel who were in contact with the three sailors have been quarantined.
“We’ve identified all those folks that they’ve had contact with and we are quantifying they as well,” Modly said.
It’s not yet clear how the sailors acquired the virus. The aircraft carrier had last visited a port in Vietnam 15 days earlier in a rare visit. Multiple aircraft had also landed on the carrier in recent days.
A U.S. warship is now undergoing cleaning after the Navy said a sailor has tested presumptive positive for coronavirus, in a first for the service.
The Navy said in a news release the sailor assigned to the amphibious assault ship USS Boxer tested presumptive positive for COVID-19 on Friday, March 13, and was quarantined at home as of Sunday.
At least 25 sailors aboard the USS Theodore Roosevelt have tested positive for the novel coronavirus, forcing the warship to port in Guam to test all 5,000 on board.
The carrier was in the midst of a deployment to the Philippine and South China Seas when the COVID-19 diagnoses prompted the Navy to order it to cease sail Thursday.
On Friday, the US was dealt another blow following confirmation that two sailors from the USS Ronald Reagan - currently in port in Japan - had also tested positive to the highly-contagious virus.
Roosevelt and Reagan are the only two US carriers in the Pacific, and may be out of action for 25 days as they test and quarantine crew.
The captain of the U.S. Navy's Nimitz class aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt, which is in port in Guam and experiencing a major outbreak of the COVID-19 novel coronavirus, has sent an unprecedented letter to the service's headquarters. In it, the officer implores his superiors to allow him to move the bulk of his crew to facilities ashore to stem the spread of the virus to "prevent tragic outcomes."
The San Francisco Chronicle was first to report on the letter from U.S. Navy Captain Brett Crozier, which it obtained and that it says a senior officer on the carrier confirmed as authentic, on Mar. 31, 2020. The Theodore Roosevelt had been operating in the Western Pacific, but sailed to Guam after three sailors tested positive for COVID-19 and arrived there on Mar. 26. The Chronicle has reported that between 150a nd 200 members of the carrier's crew have now contracted the virus. The War Zone had already warned last week that the situation developing on board the carrier could be a canary in the coal mine type event for the Navy.
US Secretary of Defense Mark Esper announced Tuesday that the US Navy aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt will not be evacuated, despite the COVID-19 outbreak onboard the carrier.