Sixth sailor from USS Theodore Roosevelt with coronavirus moved to hospital
By CAITLIN M. KENNEY | STARS AND STRIPES Published: April 16, 2020
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WASHINGTON — A sixth sailor assigned to the USS Theodore Roosevelt and fighting the coronavirus has been hospitalized in Guam, the Navy announced Thursday, as cases of the disease surpass 650 among the crew.
The sailor is being treated at U.S. Naval Hospital Guam, where five other sailors were transferred this week. One sailor remains in intensive care for observation due to shortness of breath.
The cases follow the death Monday of one Roosevelt sailor who had been in intensive care after being found unresponsive April 9 while in quarantine on Guam. The sailor has not yet been identified, pending notification of next of kin.
As of Thursday, there are 655 Roosevelt sailors with positive tests for the virus. Most of the about 4,800 member crew has been tested, with 3,919 receiving a negative test result. About 4,059 sailors have been transferred from the ship to Guam. The Navy has 983 cases of the virus among its military personnel.
Defense Secretary Mark Esper said Wednesday during an interview with Fox News that once the aircraft carrier has been cleaned as a result of the virus outbreak, the ship will return to sea in a few weeks.
The Roosevelt has been in port in Guam since March 27 after an outbreak of the virus aboard the nuclear-powered carrier diverted it during a scheduled deployment.
In a message to sailors Thursday, Adm. Robert Burke, the vice chief of naval operations, said the Navy’s goal is to deploy ships with no cases of the coronavirus, however the nature of the virus makes it difficult to achieve that goal.
Some people who are infected can be asymptomatic, making the virus hard to contain on a ship where complying with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines is difficult, he wrote.
Preventive measures such as wearing a mask, social distancing when possible and staying home when feeling sick will help stop the spread of the virus, Burke said.
“We understand these measures are especially challenging in a shipboard environment, but they are not impossible. We need your complete cooperation to pull together as we fight this virus,” he said in the message.