USS Theodore Roosevelt
The USS Theodore Roosevelt underway. Navy photo

Four sailors from the San Diego-based USS Theodore Roosevelt have been hospitalized with COVID-19 symptoms, Navy officials said Tuesday, in an announcement that came one day after a crew member died of complications from the virus.

The number of positive cases aboard the carrier now numbers nearly 600, with one of the four hospitalized sailors currently in the Intensive Care Unit “for increased observation due to shortness of breath,” according to a Navy statement.

The unidentified crew member who died was moved to the ICU of the U.S. Naval Hospital Guam on April 9 after being found unresponsive that morning and died on Monday.

More than 4,000 of the ship’s sailors have been moved off the ship, currently docked in Guam. The Navy says 93% of the ship’s crew have been tested for COVID-19, with 3,922 testing negative.

The ship’s outbreak garnered widespread attention following its captain’s publicized memo to Navy leadership pleading for immediate assistance to move about 90% of the crew off the ship.

The memo’s publication on March 30 was central to Capt. Brett Crozier’s firing days later by then-Acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly.

Modly resigned less than a week later after his address to the USS Theodore Roosevelt’s crew, in which he called Crozier’s actions “a betrayal” and stated his belief that Crozier purposely copied his email to unauthorized parties to facilitate its publication, was made public.

“If he (Crozier) didn’t think that information was going to get out into the public in this information age that we live in, then he was a) either too naive or too stupid to be the commanding officer of a ship like this,” Modly said. “The alternative is that he did it on purpose, and that’s a serious violation of the Uniform Code of Military Justice.”

Army Undersecretary Jim McPherson, a San Diego native, has been appointed Acting Navy Secretary on an interim basis.

— City News Service