Three Sailors Aboard Carrier USS Roosevelt Test Positive for COVID-19

USS Theodore Roosevelt (file image)

Published Mar 25, 2020 6:50 PM by The Maritime Executive

Three sailors from the carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt have tested positive for COVID-19, marking the first time that the U.S. Navy has discovered cases aboard a vessel under way. 

The sailors who developed symptoms have elevated temperatures and body aches, according to Chief of Naval Operatons Adm. Mike Gilday, and they are not expected to require hospitalization. These individuals have been medevaced to an American medical facility.

Members of the Roosevelt's crew who came into contact with the three known cases have been quarantined as a preventive measure. There are more than 5,000 people on board the ship at present, and Adm. Gilday declined to discuss the number of sailors who may have been exposed. 

"We've identified all those folks that they've had contact with and we're quarantining them as well. This is an example of our ability to keep our ships deployed at sea under way," acting secretary of the Navy Thomas Modly said at a press conference Tuesday.  

The source of the infection is not yet known. USS Roosevelt was last in port 15 days ago at Da Nang, Vietnam. It would be difficult to link the cases to that particular port call, Adm Gilday said, as aircraft also fly to and from the ship on a regular basis. "We took great precautions when the crew came back from that shore period to do enhanced medical screening of the crew," he said. 

Local media in Guam reported Tuesday that four (not three) USS Roosevelt sailors were evacuated and flown to U.S. Naval Hospital Guam, but Joint Region Marianas rejected this report as inaccurate. "Regrettably, the report of four confirmed COVID-19 cases at U.S. Naval Hospital Guam was made in error," said Lt. Cmdr. Rick Moore of Joint Region Marianas.