(ABC News) – The captain of the USS Theodore Roosevelt is confident the procedures now in place aboard the aircraft carrier will help identify and contain the coronavirus among the ship’s crew as it conducts training off the coast of Guam for the next two weeks.
Those procedures include constant disinfection of the ship, as well as having each of the 3,000 sailors aboard wear a mask and fill out a daily questionnaire that can help identify flu-like symptoms and contain any possible infections aboard the ship.
“While at sea we’re enforcing strict cleaning protocols and maintaining social distancing” Capt. Carlos Sardiello said in a phone interview from aboard the carrier as it sailed in the Philippine Sea. The carrier headed out to sea on Thursday after almost two months in Guam as a quarter of the ship’s crew tested positive for the virus.
“Everyone’s under a medical protocol where they’re evaluated at least once a day to ensure that they don’t have any influenza-like illnesses,” said Sardiello.
At its highest point, almost 1,200 sailors among the ship’s crew of 4,865 tested positive for the virus, including one who died. Pentagon officials say about half of those who tested positive for the virus have recovered and are back on duty.
The Navy has adjusted its procedures as more is learned about how COVID-19 affects different individuals and remains in their system.
That includes the surprising development last week that 14 sailors had once again tested positive for the virus, weeks after they had cleared their self-isolation and twice tested negative. Sardiellos said there have been no other cases of “resurgent” positives among the ship’s crew.
“Do we understand why that’s happening? No, we don’t know why,” said Sardiello. “But what matters to me is the how, and the what we do to protect our environment here.”