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'Small number' of sailors on aircraft carrier at sea test positive for coronavirus

'Small number' of sailors on aircraft carrier at sea test positive for coronavirus
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A “small number” of sailors aboard the USS Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier recently tested positive for the coronavirus while the ship was at sea in the Pacific region, the Navy confirmed Friday.

"There are currently no positive COVID sailors aboard USS Ronald Reagan," Cmdr. Reann Mommsen, spokesperson for the U.S. 7th Fleet, said in a statement Friday. “A small number of sailors on board the ship tested positive for COVID-19 while underway on Aug 27, 2020."

The sailors received “immediate medical treatment” and were taken off the ship, Mommsen added. None have been hospitalized.

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“The ship is taking aggressive action and applying all mitigations to protect the health of our sailors and stop the spread of the virus in accordance with CDC and Navy guidance as we continue to identify and eliminate any potential vectors of the virus,” she said.

Stars and Stripes first reported the positive cases.

An earlier coronavirus outbreak aboard another aircraft carrier at sea, the USS Theodore Roosevelt, sidelined the ship for months as more than 1,000 sailors were sickened. Ultimately, one died.

The Roosevelt outbreak also turned into a political firestorm after the ship’s commander, Capt. Brett Crozier, was fired after a letter he wrote pleading for help with the outbreak leaked in the media.

The acting Navy secretary who fired him, Thomas Modly, later resigned after he gave a speech aboard the Roosevelt berating Crozier.

Since the Roosevelt incident, the Navy has put in place measures aimed at preventing the virus from making its way onto ships in the first place, including requiring sailors to undergo a two-week quarantine and test negative before boarding.

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The Navy has also limited port visits.

The Reagan made a brief port visit in Guam from Aug. 22 to Aug. 26. A news release at the time described that stop as a “safe haven liberty” visit where crew members were limited to designated areas on the pier and a beach on Naval Base Guam to prevent the spread of COVID-19 while giving sailors time to relax.

Mommsen said the Navy is investigating how the virus came onto the Reagan.

“An investigation is underway to determine the source of infection,” she said. “The Reagan crew has worked extremely hard to minimize the risk of infection onboard since they deployed more than three months ago.”