As the military grinds to a halt in a dire attempt to stem the spread of coronavirus, the Navy announced that on Thursday, 35 additional sailors and Navy civilians tested positive for COVID-19.
The single-day spike comes as the service temporarily sidelined aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt following a surge of positive cases aboard the underway, 5,000-person ship. The Roosevelt made a scheduled port visit to Da Nang, Vietnam approximately two weeks before the first cases surfaced.
In response, the Navy has ordered the Roosevelt to port in Guam in order to test the entire crew.
“We expect additional positive tests, and those Sailors who test positive will be transported to the U.S. Naval Hospital Guam for further evaluation and treatment as necessary,” Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Michael Gilday said in a statement Thursday.
As cases continue to surge, the Navy’s U.S. Pacific Fleet announced it would forego naming ships to which the infected sailors are assigned.
“U.S. Pacific Fleet commanders and commanding officers are committed to taking every measure possible to protect the health of our force,” U.S. Pacific Fleet said in a release. “We remain in close coordination with state and federal authorities, and public health authorities to ensure the well-being of our personnel and local population.”
The Navy had discovered 104 total positive cases throughout the fleet prior to Thursday’s spike of 35.
The service said it continues to retrace who may have come into contact with sailors who have tested positive to see who may have been exposed.
All sailors who have tested positive are following quarantine procedures in accordance with guidelines provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the service said.
Meanwhile, as the number of positive cases continues to rise, the geographical spread of the virus throughout the Navy’s ranks is also undeniable.
Today’s announcement concerning positive cases throughout the fleet were broken down by the following locations. (Ships and commands were not identified.)
- 17 sailors assigned to an underway ship in the Pacific
- 2 sailors on a San Diego-based ship
- 1 sailor from a Pearl Harbor-based ship
- 4 sailors based in Memphis, Tennessee
- 1 sailor in Millington, Tennessee
- 1 sailor in Atlanta, Georgia
- 1 sailor in Newport, Rhode Island
- 1 sailor in Yokosuka, Japan
- 1 sailor in Gaeta, Italy
- 1 sailor in Rota, Spain
- 5 total civilians — one each in California, Florida, Louisiana, Washington state, and Virginia
Jon Simkins is a writer and editor for Military Times, and a USMC veteran.