- By Pacific island Times News Staff
Number of coronavirus-positive sailors climbs to 36
Sailors from the USS Theodore Roosevelt, who tested positive for Covid-19, have been evacuated to Naval Hospital Guam. Photo by Gina T. Reilly
The number of sailors aboard the USS Theodore Roosevelt who tested positive for Covid-19 has spiked to 36 from the initial 23 reported Friday, according to national media reports quoting the Navy.
“Navy officials expect the number of sailors infected to continue to grow as the entire ship's crew of 5,000 is tested for the virus during a port visit to Guam,” ABC News reported.
The carrier arrived in Guam on a previously scheduled port visit. The Navy announced Friday that the first batch of sailors who tested positive were airlifted from the carrier and evacuated to the Naval Hospital Guam.
Quoting General John Hyten, the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, ABC News reported that the Navy expects the testing of the ship's crew to take as long as a week.
Guam Sen. Sabina Perez, meanwhile, wrote to Rear Admiral John V. Menoni, Commander Joint Region Marianas, expressing concern over the evacuation of the sailors to Guam, which she said put the island at greater risk.
“I was deeply alarmed to learn that personnel aboard the USS Roosevelt testing positive for COVID-19 were transported onto Guam, and that the aircraft carrier itself docked here, while the extent of the virus among the ship's personnel is still unknown,” Perez wrote.
“In the interest of developing good faith relationships with Joint Region Marianas, I respectfully ask that the US Navy direct USS Roosevelt personnel to quarantine onboard the vessel when medically able. Quarantine is our best line of defense against further spread of this disease,” she added.
Perez also requested the military’s assistance “in aiding the public through humanitarian aid and medical supplies. “
Sen. James Moylan, for his part, urged Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero to grab the opportunity for Guam receive support from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Department of Defense for additional medical supplies such as ventilators for Guam.
"However, for this process to be initiated, it will require a request from you to FEMA, and to share the critical situation we have on island with limited medical supplies and beds, and an unfortunately growing number of positive cases on island. If they determine the request to be valid, this would initiate a conversation between their office and the Department of Defense who would engage the Pacific Fleet and the Joint Region Marianas," Moylan said in a letter to the governor.
"From what we understand, there is a great desire from the military community to assist our island. However, if we can provide a justifiable reason, the process may be expedited. It seems to boil down to simply making the request."