• By Pacific island Times News Staff

Roosevelt's Covid cases surge to 615; five sent to Naval hospital


Sailors who tested negative are currently quarantined at several hotels in Tumon. Photo by Mar-Vic Cagurangan

A total of 4,046 sailors have been evacuated from the USS Theodore Roosevelt as of Thursday, leaving close to a thousand more still languishing on the Covid19-stricken aircraft carrier, where the number of positive cases has surged to 615 as of today.

According to the Navy's latest update, 94 percent of Roosevelt's crewmembers have been tested for Covid-19 with 3,958 negative results. One sailor died of Covid-19 complications Monday while being treated at the intensive care unit of the Naval Hospital Guam.

The Navy said five Covid-19 positive sailors are currently in U.S. Naval Hospital Guam. One of the sailors is in ICU for increased observation due to shortness of breath.

Sailors who tested negative are currently quarantined at several hotels in Tumon.

Before he was relieved of duty, Capt. Brett Crozier, then commanding officer of Roosevelt, made a desperate plea for the evacuation of 4,000 sailors from the ship, which he said was most conducive to spread of Covid-19.

Crozier was later fired after raising the alarm over the muffled crisis on the ship. In a letter that was later leaked to San Francisco Chronicle before it became widely circulated, Crozier said the ship was prone to contagion due had large number of sailors in a confined space, open, shared berthing, shared restroom facilities, workspaces and computers.

Navy-side, a total of 1,187 have tested Covid-19 positive, including sailors from other carriers, dependents, civilians and contractors.

The Navy reported that two of four sailors assigned to the French nuclear-powered aircraft carrier FS Charles de Gaulle tested positive for Covid-19 and are receiving medical care at French facilities. The sailors are part of the U.S. Navy’s Personnel Exchange program which fosters strong relationships and enhanced communication with partners and allies.

Seven medical treatment facility crewmembers on board USNS Mercy have tested positive and are currently isolated off the ship. A little more than 100 crewmembers considered to have been in contact with the Covid-19 positive crewmembers. All are currently in quarantine off the ship and have tested negative.

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Meanwhile, the Navy Exchange Service Command’s (NEXCOM) NEX Downrange Program has transformed into a quarantine support program to support service members who have either been placed on restriction of movement by their commands or aboard a ship in port overseas and unable to disembark.

NEX Guam implemented its version of the program to support sailors placed on restriction of movement and within the first 24-hours of the program’s inception, filled over 60 orders.

Last week the NEX Guam general manager received a note stating, “I cannot tell you how much of a force multiplier you and the NEX team have been. Every time you’ve has been asked to assist, you and the team not only accepted the challenge you exceeded all expectations with speed and agility. You have, once again, proved that your NEX Guam team is more than a brick and mortar store. Team NEX Guam's efforts have made immediate and positive impact on the crew and this community.”

A NEX Guam associate pulls merchandise to fulfill NEX Quarantine Support Program orders from sailors currently on restriction of movement orders per their command. U.S. Navy photo by NEXCOM Public Affairs

As of April 9, the NEX Downrange Program, or now also known as the NEX Quarantine Support Program, has been adopted by over 20 NEX locations around the world and filled approximately 3,000 orders in a little over a week. The program will continue to expand to other NEX locations where there is a need.

At most NEX locations, service members can submit an order and pay for their merchandise via a secure encrypted internet site. The customer receives an email acknowledging the order and an estimated time the order will be delivered or will be available for pick up by the sailor’s command.

Customers can purchase a variety of items from the NEX including food, non-alcoholic beverages, electronics, personal hygiene, health and comfort items, sports nutrition and cleaning supplies. Due to social distancing guidelines, all orders are delivered or picked up without coming into close contact with the associate or customer.

“NEXCOM’s sole mission is to support our Navy, our sailors and their families, especially in times of crisis,” said Greg Thomas, senior vice president of NEXCOM Operations. “Now more than ever our command must get creative and dig deep to support our service members, and this program does just that! For everyone’s safety and well-being, these men and women can’t come to a store… so we’re bringing the store to them!”

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