USS Theodore Roosevelt Reports Third Round of COVID Cases

USNS Yukon and USS Theodore Roosevelt under way (USN)

Published Feb 16, 2021 9:42 PM by The Maritime Executive

The carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt is experiencing another episode of COVID-19 infection on board, albeit much smaller than its first. Three of her crewmembers tested positive for the disease on Sunday, and they are currently in isolation on board, the Navy confirmed Monday. All three are asymptomatic. 

“U.S. Pacific Fleet is committed to taking every measure possible to protect the health of our force,” the service said in a statement, including an "aggressive mitigation strategy" of social distancing and sanitation measures. 

The new cases mark at least the third outbreak aboard the Roosevelt within the span of a year. The first and most serious occurred in March 2020, shortly after the carrier made a port call in Vietnam. An outbreak of COVID-19 swept rapidly through the ship, eventually infecting one quarter of the crew. A 10-week period of quarantine and disinfection followed at the Navy's base at Guam, with most of the 4,800-strong crew disembarking for isolation and treatment. The first COVID-19 fatality in the U.S. armed forces was a Roosevelt crewmember, Chief Petty Officer Charles Robert Thacker Jr., 41, who was hospitalized in Guam in April 2020.  

Theodore Roosevelt returned to San Diego in July 2020, and she soon entered a workup period for a "double-pump" deployment. In mid-October, Navy officials confirmed a second outbreak: a small number of the carrier's sailors had tested positive for COVID-19. Over the months since the first incident aboard Roosevelt, the service had refined its ability to contain the spread of the disease, and the second round of cases did not impede the ship's departure in early December. 

The Theodore Roosevelt is currently deployed in the Western Pacific. On February 9, she met up with the carrier USS Nimitz in a "highly trafficked area" of the South China Sea for a rare demonstration of power - a dual-carrier exercise involving two air wings.