Nimitz Becomes 4th Aircraft Carrier with COVID-19 Case: Report




 

Update: On Wednesday, Cdr. John Fage, spokesman for the U.S. 3rd Fleet, said the sailor's test is still inconclusive and no sailors aboard the Nimitz have tested positive.

"There are no confirmed positive cases of COVID-19 on board USS Nimitz at this time," Fage said. "Sailors that had been in close contact with the individual were also removed from the ship as a precaution and placed into quarantine. That sailor remains off the ship."

He added, "Regarding the second Nimitz sailor that has been reported as positive for COVID-19, they tested positive while out of the state on leave in early March. That sailor remains in that location and has not been to or aboard Nimitz since departing the area on leave."

Another aircraft carrier has confirmed a case of coronavirus in a crew member, according to a news report.

Citing three U.S. defense officials, Politico reported Tuesday that a sailor on board the carrier Nimitz (CVN 68) has tested positive for COVID-19. The sailor's test came back positive last week after the individual exhibited symptoms on board, Politico said.

Another crew member also has coronavirus, but the member has not been working on the carrier, Politico said.

A U.S. defense official told Military.com on Tuesday that a Nimitz-based sailor, who displayed symptoms was placed into isolation in late March out of an abundance of caution, was tested twice in recent days. However, both tests came back inconclusive.

The carrier is the fourth to reportedly have a case of the highly contagious disease among its crew.

Related: Acting SecNav's Public Apology Was Ordered by Defense Secretary Mark Esper

The nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, based in Bremerton, Washington, has been readying for a deployment, Politico reported. The Nimitz strike group is part of the U.S. 3rd Fleet, which coordinates with U.S. 7th Fleet to conduct missions throughout the Pacific.

The USS Theodore Roosevelt, which reported its first COVID cases on March 24 and now has more than 200 among its crew, had to be sidelined in Guam to offload thousands of sailors in an effort to manage the outbreak.

Capt. Brett Crozier, who commanded the Roosevelt, was removed from his job after a letter he wrote about the situation on his ship was sent to people outside his chain of command last week. Then-acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly on Thursday fired Crozier, calling the leak of the letter -- not the letter itself -- an "uncharacteristic lack of judgment."

Modly resigned Tuesday following a a visit to the Roosevelt to deliver a speech in which he suggested the Crozier was "too naïve or too stupid to be a commanding officer of a ship like this." The remarks became public and sparked major backlash, with former officials and lawmakers calling for Modly to step down.

The Roosevelt, which has more than 5,000 people onboard, joined two other carriers that had reported cases last month.

The USS Ronald Reagan, forward deployed in Japan, said two sailors on board had tested positive for COVID-19 on March 27, according to a report from Fox News.

The Kitsap Sun reported on March 23 that a member of the USS Carl Vinson's crew was also diagnosed with COVID-19.

-- Gina Harkins contributed to this report.

-- Oriana Pawlyk can be reached at oriana.pawlyk@military.com. Follow her on Twitter at @Oriana0214.

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