WASHINGTON – Thirteen sailors of the crew of the USS Theodore Roosevelt have tested positive for COVID-19 after previously testing negative, Navy officials confirmed this weekend.
In addition, the Navy said Sunday the Roosevelt has had a sailor diagnosed with tuberculosis, another infectious disease.
The Roosevelt remains anchored in Guam after a March outbreak aboard the ship that struck 1,102 of the 4,800 crew, making it the flagship for COVID-19 in the U.S. military. Thousands of sailors have been evacuated to land as officials deal with the outbreak on board.
On April 13, the Navy reported the first death of a Roosevelt sailor from COVID-19.
“The good news is that in this case you had a few individuals who showed symptoms,” Jonathan Rath Hoffman, chief Pentagon spokesperson, told reporters. “Because of the medical testing and the medical surveillance that we’ve put in place, they quickly were alerted, the medical crew on the ship. They were tested. They were removed from the ship and quarantined.”
Gen. Mark Milley, chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told Pentagon reporters earlier this year the military hopes to learn lessons on how to battle COVID-19 from the Roosevelt.
He also said the Roosevelt is the only ship with a “significant” COVID-19 issue.
Earlier, Defense Secretary Mark Esper said a majority of the sailors assigned to the Roosevelt who have tested positive for COVID-19 — at least 350 crew members — are asymptomatic.
“What we’ve found of the 600 or so that have been infected, what’s disconcerting is a majority of those, 350 plus, are asymptomatic,” Esper said in an interview with the “Today Show” earlier this month. “So it has revealed a new dynamic of this virus that it can be carried by normal, healthy people who have no idea whatsoever that they are carrying it.”