The U.S. Navy is struggling to contain a coronavirus outbreak at sea in the Pacific Ocean, aboard USS Theodore Roosevelt aircraft carrier.
Navy officials have confirmed at least eight positive cases discovered on board the vessel of more than 5,000 sailors, according to Chief of Naval Operations Administrator Michael Gilday.
“We take this threat very seriously and we are working fast to identify and isolate positive cases, preventing more virus from spreading on board the vessel. There are no Marines or hospitalized or seriously ill,” he said in a statement on Thursday.
He said the medical team on board the ship is testing the crew.
“We are isolating those who are positive. Testing will continue as needed to ensure the health of the entire crew of the ship. In addition, the medical staff will continue to actively monitor the health of the crew. Deep cleaning of the spaces in the ship is also underway, “he said.
The vessels are heading to Guam for a previously scheduled port visit, Navy officials said. There, the sailors will continue to be tested, isolated and treated as needed.
Gilday said the Navy is expecting more positive tests and that sailors will be referred to the U.S. Naval Hospital in Guam for further evaluation and treatment if needed. The rest of the sailors will be restricted to a pier.
“We catch on a day-to-day basis. Our top two priorities are to take care of our people and stay prepared for the missions. Both of them are on the go,” Gilday said.
“We are confident that our aggressive response will keep USS Theodore Roosevelt able to respond to any crisis in the region.”
Acting Secretary of the Navy Thomas Modly said earlier Thursday that the entire crew would be tested for coronavirus.
He said the first three sailors who were identified as positive and left the ship earlier this week “are doing well,” and none of them have required hospitalization.
“The symptoms are very mild: they are aches and pains and that kind of thing, a sore throat, but nothing that would require hospitalization. So now they are quarantined in Guam, “he said.
Modly said five more sailors were flown after that and several others are isolated. The Daily Beast reported on Thursday that there were 23 positive cases aboard the Roosevelt.
Navy officials said they are studying how the sailors contracted the coronavirus.
Roosevelt had stopped in Vietnam 15 days ago, but Gilday said earlier this week that at the time the boaters were allowed to leave the boat, there were only 16 positive cases of coronavirus in Vietnam. north of the coast from where the sailors. he had docked at Da Nang.
The U.S. Navy has four aircraft carriers at sea. So far, Roosevelt is the first marine vessel to have coronavirus cases on board.
Navy officials say sailors practice the social distance on board ships. In the future, Gilday said all visits to the port have been canceled, except for vessels that have to request maintenance or supply.
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