SAN DIEGO (CNS) – Five sailors aboard the San Diego-based USS Theodore Roosevelt have tested positive for COVID-19 a second time and have since been removed from the ship, according to the Navy.
The sailors developed influenza-like symptoms and reported to medical staff, then were placed in isolation off-ship, according to a Navy statement. The Navy also moved a number of sailors off the ship because they had interacted closely with the five positive cases.
The carrier has been docked in Guam since late March, when its large- scale outbreak prompted its captain to ask Navy leadership for assistance in a publicized letter, resulting in his removal from command.
Since then, the entirety of the ship’s crew — numbering more than 4,000 sailors — has been tested for the virus, and efforts were underway to move the crew back onto the ship.
The Navy reported Thursday that more than 2,900 of the carrier’s sailors have been moved aboard the ship, with more than a quarter of all sailors who previously tested positive now recovered from COVID-19.
“We would all acknowledge that this has been a learning process,” Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Hoffman said during a Department of Defense news conference on Friday. “What we’ve known for a long time is this is a very stubborn, infectious disease.”
Investigations remain ongoing into the circumstances surrounding the outbreak, which could affect whether its former commanding officer, Capt. Brett Crozier, is reinstated.
Following a preliminary inquiry, Acting Navy Secretary James E. McPherson ordered a second investigation late last month, as the initial investigation left him with “unanswered questions.”
McPherson said the second inquiry was intended “to provide a more fulsome understanding of the sequence of events, actions and decisions of the chain of command surrounding the COVID-19 outbreak aboard USS Theodore Roosevelt.”