Three sailors aboard the San Diego-based USS Roosevelt have tested positive for COVID-19 a month into the ship's deployment in the South China Sea, the U.S. Navy's Pacific Fleet said Monday.
The trio of sailors, who tested positive on Sunday, have not experienced any symptoms, Navy officials said. Those sailors and others closest to them have been isolated in accordance with Navy and CDC guidance.
This marks the second outbreak on the aircraft carrier. Last year, more than 1,200 sailors on the ship tested positive for the virus, which led to nearly two months of quarantining in Guam before the Roosevelt's sailors could return to sea.
A Pentagon watchdog report said the outbreak was amplified when commanders of the Navy vessel failed to enforce procedures that would have prevent its spread, like social distancing and quarantining.
This time, according to a Navy statement, the Roosevelt is "following an aggressive mitigation strategy in accordance with Navy and CDC guidelines to include mandatory mask wearing, social distancing, and proper hygiene and sanitation practices. U.S. Pacific Fleet is committed to taking every measure possible to protect the health of our force"
Currently, USS Roosevelt and Nimitz Carrier Strike Groups are conducting dual carrier operations in a multi-month deployment, according to the Navy's website. The Roosevelt remains fully operational, officials said.
Cmdr. Myers Vasquez, a spokesperson for the Pacific Fleet, said the Roosevelt was deployed in December before coronavirus vaccines became available. He said vaccinations are currently voluntary for Navy servicemembers and will continue to be until the U.S. Food and Drug Administration lifts its Emergency Use Authorization.