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Three sailors aboard USS Theodore Roosevelt test positive for COVID-19

Aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Kaylianna Genier)

Less than a year after a massive COVID-19 outbreak on the USS Theodore Roosevelt, three more soldiers have tested positive, the Navy said Monday.

The sailors, who have not been publicly identified, tested positive Sunday but are not showing any symptoms, officials said.

They and anyone in close contact are currently isolating on board the ship, which is stationed in the Pacific.

“The ship 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,” the Navy said in a statement.

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

More than 1,000 sailors on the USS Theodore Roosevelt tested positive during last year’s outbreak and Chief Petty Officer Charles Thacker, 41, died of complications.

Capt. Brett Crozier, the ship’s commanding officer, pleaded with the Navy in a leaked memo to evacuate the almost 5,000 sailors on board, but was refused.

“This will require a political solution but it is the right thing to do,” Crozier wrote in a letter, obtained by the San Francisco Chronicle. “We are not at war. Sailors do not need to die. If we do not act now, we are failing to properly take care of our most trusted asset — our sailors.”

Then-acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly fired Crozier in April, accusing him of being “too naive or too stupid to be the commanding officer of a ship like this.” Then-Defense Secretary Mark Esper defended Modly, but Modly resigned anyway after his comments were reported.

Crozier’s firing was upheld in June by Adm. Michael Gilday, the chief of naval operations, who said that the Navy investigation found that both he and Rear Adm. Stuart Baker, the commander of the carrier strike group that includes the USS Theodore Roosevelt, fell “well short of what we expect of those in command.”

Baker was demoted.

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