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3 sailors on USS Theodore Roosevelt test positive for coronavirus

3 sailors on USS Theodore Roosevelt test positive for coronavirus
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The Navy on Monday reported three COVID-19 cases among sailors aboard the USS Theodore Roosevelt, which last year became the center of a massive coronavirus outbreak. 

The Navy said in a statement that the three sailors had tested positive on Sunday and had not experienced any symptoms. 

The sailors, as well as individuals identified as close contacts, are currently isolated on the ship following a contact-tracing investigation, the Navy said. 

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The ship is following an aggressive mitigation strategy in accordance with Navy and [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] guidelines to include mandatory mask wearing, social distancing, and proper hygiene and sanitation practices,” the military branch added.

“U.S. Pacific Fleet is committed to taking every measure possible to protect the health of our force,” the statement continued. “USS Theodore Roosevelt is currently underway and remains fully operational.” 

The new cases come less than a year after an outbreak on the ship forced it to remain in Guam for nearly two months. 

The coronavirus outbreak was the largest the military has seen since the start of the pandemic, with more than 1,200 aboard the ship testing positive and all of the 4,800 crew members sent ashore to Guam to quarantine for weeks, according to The Associated Press

The Pentagon’s inspector general last week released a report that accused the carrier's commanders of not keeping sailors in quarantine long enough and not strictly enforcing social-distancing rules, thus exacerbating the outbreak on the vessel. 

Former acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly defended his handling of the outbreak in a piece published last week in the U.S. Naval Institute’s “Proceedings” magazine

Modly, who resigned last year amid backlash over his response to the onboard cases, lashed out at those who questioned his decisions while defending firing the ship’s popular commander, Capt. Brett Crozier, after a letter the captain wrote pleading for help with the outbreak leaked in the media.

Modly stepped down in April after firing Crozier and then flying to Guam to give a profanity-laced speech aboard the Roosevelt. In the address, Modly said the captain was “too naive or too stupid to be a commanding officer of a ship like this” if he thought his letter would not leak to the public.