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COVID-19

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Sailors on sidelined carrier get virus for second time

UPDATED: Fri., May 15, 2020

In this March 18, 2020, photo provided by the U.S. Navy, an F/A-18F Super Hornet launches from the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) in the western North Pacific Ocean. (Petty Officer 3rd Class Nicholas / AP)
In this March 18, 2020, photo provided by the U.S. Navy, an F/A-18F Super Hornet launches from the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) in the western North Pacific Ocean. (Petty Officer 3rd Class Nicholas / AP)
By Lolita C. Baldor Associated Press

WASHINGTON – Five sailors on the aircraft carrier sidelined in Guam due to a COVID-19 outbreak have gotten the virus for the second time and have been taken off the ship, according to the Navy.

The resurgence of the virus in the five sailors on the USS Theodore Roosevelt underscores the befuddling behavior of the highly contagious virus and raises questions about how troops that test positive can be reintegrated into the military, particularly on ships.

All five sailors had previously tested positive and had gone through at least two weeks of isolation. As part of the process, they all had to test negative twice in a row, with the tests separated by at least a day or two before they were allowed to go back to the ship.

The Roosevelt has been at port in Guam since late March after the outbreak of the virus was discovered. More than 4,000 of the 4,800 crew members have gone ashore since then for quarantine or isolation. Earlier this month hundreds of sailors began returning to the ship, in coordinated waves, to get ready to set sail again.

In a statement Friday, the Navy said that, while onboard, the five sailors self-monitored and adhered to strict social distancing protocols.

“These five Sailors developed influenza-like illness symptoms and did the right thing reporting to medical for evaluation,” the Navy said, adding that they were immediately removed from the ship and put back in isolation. A small number of other sailors who were in contact with them were also taken off the ship.

As of Thursday, more than 2,900 sailors have reboarded the ship, and about 25% of the more than 1,000 who had tested positive have now recovered, according to the Navy.

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