Two sailors assigned to the USS Nimitz, pictured, have reportedly tested positive for the novel coronavirus. Photo by Aiyana S. Paschal/US Navy | License Photo
April 8 (UPI) -- The Navy is preparing to deploy the USS Nimitz this month despite the fact that at least twol sailors on the aircraft carrier have tested positive for the novel coronavirus.
One tested positive after experiencing symptoms aboard the ship, and the second had tested positive but had not recently been aboard the ship, the Washington Post and Politico first reported.
The reported cases on the Nimitz bring the number of aircraft carriers with outbreaks to four.
The news comes amid a political firestorm over the branch's handling over a large outbreak on the USS Theodore Roosevelt, which is currently docked in Guam to test and isolate sailors who have contracted the virus.
On Tuesday, the branch's acting secretary, Thomas B. Modly, resigned after he called the former captain of the USS Theodore Roosevelt "stupid" for not realizing a letter he wrote about the outbreak was likely to become public.
Modly removed the captain, Brett Crozier, from his role last week.
More than 150 sailors on the Roosevelt have tested positive for the virus.
The Nimitz sails with about 4,800 personnel and is reportedly using an informal screening process that includes temperature checks and asking some sailors, but not all, whether they feel well.
The Nimitz is currently docked in its home port in Bremerton, Wash., and preparing for a deployment in the Pacific this summer.
The USS Ronald Reagan, which is undergoing maintenance in Japan, and the USS Carl Vinson undergoing maintenance in the Puget Sound, have also reported positive cases of the virus.