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Roosevelt crew isolation extended as Navy, CDC investigate COVID-19 outbreak

Roosevelt crew isolation extended as Navy, CDC investigate COVID-19 outbreak
The USS Theodore Roosevelt may extend its isolation period for sailors on the vessel due to the novel coronavirus outbreak. Photo courtesy of U.S. Navy

April 21 (UPI) -- The Navy and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have launched an investigation to determine what caused the coronavirus outbreak aboard the USS Theodore Roosevelt -- and why the virus spread so rapidly on the aircraft carrier.

The Navy told CNN that it is asking 1,000 of the ship's 4,800 crew members to complete a survey and provide two new specimens -- blood and nasal swabs -- for laboratory testing.

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One sailor on the vessel has succumbed to the illness and, as of Tuesday, 700 others have tested positive.

Politico also reported Tuesday that, according to a Navy memo, post-quarantine testing may be halted and sailors' isolation periods extended, potentially delaying the ship's departure from Guam, where it has been docked since the end of March.

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Navy leadership decided to take those steps after several sailors tested positive for the virus even after completing a 14-day isolation period.

The Air Force also announced Sunday that it is constructing an expeditionary medical facility on the island in response to the growing number of COVID-19 cases on the island.

The new facility adds 25 total beds that can be used for COVID-19 patients, and adds six warehouse units to store medical equipment at the facility.

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Earlier this month, the Navy's acting secretary resigned after criticizing the ship's captain, Brett Crozier, after Crozier's plea for more resources to contain the outbreak went public.

The Navy is also investigating the circumstances around Crozier's memo and the results of that investigation could determine whether he is reinstated.

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