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All 5,000 U.S. Navy sailors onboard the USS Theodore Roosevelt aircraft carrier will be tested for the coronavirus after nearly two dozen members were diagnosed with the virus while deployed in the Pacific, military officials said Thursday.
The Roosevelt is docking in Guam after a sharp rise in COVID-19 diagnoses, Acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly said at a press briefing. Eight sailors have been flown off the carrier to a hospital while the rest will remain on board to await testing.
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While eight sailors tested positive in recent days, a senior U.S. Navy official told Fox News that at least 23 have the virus. None are in serious condition, but the exponential rate of positive tests onboard the aircraft carrier has the attention of Navy officials.
The carrier, which is the first U.S. Navy ship to have a reported outbreak while at sea, has limited testing capacity with only about 800 COVID-19 test kits aboard, Modly said, adding that more are being flown in.
He said that the carrier remains “fully operational” amid the outbreak.
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The Navy said earlier this week that the Roosevelt’s most recent port of call was in Vietnam.
The coronavirus is taking a growing toll on the U.S. military, with 104 Navy sailors around the world, 31 Marines and two Marine recruits in the Parris Island having tested positive.
So far, no U.S. service member in Iraq, Syria or Afghanistan is known to have tested positive for the virus, but a couple dozen have shown symptoms and are in isolation.
Navy Capt. Bill Urban, spokesman for U.S. Central Command, said two U.S. sailors tested positive in Bahrain earlier this week. Across the Mideast, about 1,500 U.S. troops are in precautionary quarantine.
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In general, the virus has been slower to disable younger and healthier members of the military population.
Fox News’ Jennifer Griffin and Lucas Tomlinson, along with The Associated Press, contributed to this report.