- By Pacific island Times News Staff
Roosevelt's Covid-19 cases surge to 777
The 36th Wing, with support from Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson and Hickam Air Force Base, constructed an Expeditionary Medical Support System or EMEDS, on the grounds of U.S. Naval Hospital Guam. The EMEDS facility consists of 11 medical units, and 6 warehouse units and will be used to support the efforts against COVID-19. U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Zachary Heal
The number of USS Theodore Roosevelt sailors who tested positive for Covid-19 has surged to 777 as the Navy's medical team nears completion of testing the ship's crew members. As of today, 99 percent of Roosevelt's crew have been tested, with 3,919 negative results and a total of 4,196 sailors have moved ashore, according to the Navy's latest update. Of the total positive cases, 63 sailors have recovered and six sailors are in U.S. Naval Hospital Guam. "None of the sailors hospitalized for Covid-19 are in the intensive care unit," the Navy said.
The Roosevelt arrived at Apra Harbor on March 27. The Nimitz-class nuclear powered aircraft carrier brought nearly 5,000 sailors. hose evacuated from he ship are being housed on NBG and at Guam hotels. Navy officials said he sailors will remain in quarantine pending further evaluation.
The 36th Wing, with support from Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson and Hickam Air Force Base, is currently building an Expeditionary Medical Support System or EMEDS, on the grounds of U.S. Naval Hospital Guam. The EMEDS facility consists of 11 medical units and six warehouse units. The extra space and additional staff of 77 Air Force personnel will allow for expanded capacity for U.S. Naval Hospital Guam, adding an additional 25 total beds that can be used for COVID-19 patients. The warehouses will be used to store medical equipment used at the EMEDS facility.
“This is very much a joint effort,” said Senior Master Sergeant Marty Treml, 554th Red Horse Squadron Operations Superintendent. “We have assets and support from both the Navy and Andersen, as well as medical supplies being flown in from JBER and Hickam.”
This quick-turn operation is exactly what these units have been trained for, having completed a similar exercise during Cope North 2020 only a few months ago. “It really is a culminated effort of many different units from multiple bases to pull off the logistics of getting all the supplies here for this operation,” said Lt. Col. David Johnson, Troop Commander for the operation. “This is a huge operation that took a lot of work to complete, but in this instance, it was incredibly smooth.”
This project will directly support military efforts to get the Roosevelt crew healthy and back out to sea, but will also give U.S. Naval Hospital Guam capability to further support the Government of Guam’s medical capacity in the island-wide fight against Covid-19.
“Our mission here is to help support the Navy operations with the USS Roosevelt,” said Lt. Col. Damian Pardue, 36th Medical Group Administrator. “The intent is that we are ready for whatever we are needed for during this unprecedented time.”
The EMEDS facility has been almost completely finished within the span of just a couple days. “It’s truly a testament to the preparedness and hard work of our Airmen in the 554th,” said Treml.
NEX Guam has delivered more than 1,500 orders for their Downrange Program. Photo courtesy of NEX Guam
The Navy Exchange (NEX) Guam, meanwhile, announced it has processed and delivered more than 1,500 remote orders to Roosevelt sailors utilizing the Downrange Program. The Downrange Program is a service developed to provide NEX shopping for Sailors who are unable to physically visit the store. The program originated at NEX Djibouti to take care of “downrange” troops in other parts of Africa. “With the impact of COVID-19 restricting Sailors to quarters, the team here at NEX Guam modified the program to support Sailors in hotels and on ships,” NEX Guam Store Manager Chris Traxler said. “The Sailors are provided a catalog with some basic items but they can really request anything in the store.”
The Downrange Program is an integral part of the U.S. Naval Base Guam (NBG) Quality of Life (QOL) Task Force. The primary focus of the task force is to enhance the morale for the Sailors who are currently under isolation and quarantine. “I am impressed and grateful for the phenomenal work NEX Guam is doing as part of the NBG Quality of Life Task Force,” NBG Commanding Officer, Capt. Jeffrey Grimes said. “The small comforts and pieces of home that the NEX Downrange Program brings to the fight are excellent reminders to the USS Theodore Roosevelt Sailors that people care."
According to Traxler, some of the most popular items being ordered are snacks, drinks, toiletries and clothing as well as electronics, including laptops. Sailors place their orders through email. Once the order is received by the NEX team, a sales associate takes the order and shops for the merchandise. The order is brought to the processing area where the payment is applied and then it is boxed. The items are then delivered to wherever the Sailor may be housed. “Many of our team actually call the customer to see what they want and any substitutions,” Traxler said. “We have logged about 1,500 orders so far but have received over 7,000 emails. We estimate there are about 600 more orders to log and process.” (Joint Region Marianas, 36th Wing Public Affairs)