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  • By Mar-Vic Cagurangan

With 1,102 Covid-19 cases, Roosevelt gets ready to set sail

Rear Adm. John Menoni, commander of Joint Region Marianas, discusses the capabilities of the expeditionary medical facility with Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero during her tour of the facility April 29, 20202. U.S. Navy photo by Chief Mass Communication Specialist Matthew R. White

While sailors who are quarantined in Tumon hotels begin transitioning from isolation, the USS Theodore Roosevelt appears to continue struggling with its efforts to curtail further spread of Covid-19, with active cases now reaching 1,102. Just the same, the Navy said the warship will soon be ready to set sail.

"The increase in active cases represent exit tests for sailors who are asymptomatic," the Navy said. "53 sailors have recovered after completing at least 14 days in isolation and two successive negative tests. Three sailors are being treated in U.S. Naval Hospital Guam for Covid-19 symptoms. None of the hospitalized sailors are in the intensive care unit."

Acting Secretary of the Navy James E. McPherson said the Navy will conduct further investigation into the Covid-19 outbreak om the carrier.

"After carefully reviewing the preliminary inquiry into the events surrounding the Covid-19 outbreak aboard USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71), the Chief of Naval Operations, Adm. Mike Gilday, provided me with his recommendations," McPherson said in a statement. "Following our discussion, I have unanswered questions that the preliminary inquiry has identified and that can only be answered by a deeper review."

McPherson has instructed Gilday to conduct a follow-on command investigation. "This investigation will build on the good work of the initial inquiry to provide a more fulsome understanding of the sequence of events, actions, and decisions of the chain of command surrounding the Covid-19 outbreak aboard USS Theodore Roosevelt," he added.

Based on the result of initial investigation, the Navy has recommended the reinstatement of of the warship's former commanding officer, Capt. Brett Crozier, who was fired after blowing the whistle on the deteriorating condition on the ship. The Pentagon has deferred action on this recommendation.

On Guam, Rear Adm. John Menoni, commander of the Joint Region Marianas, said Roosevelt will soon "be able to go back out to sea to continue the Navy's mission of protecting the region and the nation."

"Now, we are more than a month into that recovery mission and 100 percent of the TR sailors have been tested," Menoni said.

While the "long journey toward recovery" is just beginning, Menoni said he is confident "we will have a strong finish."

With approximately 4,800 crewmembers, Roosevelt docked in Guam on March 27 after a port visit in Vietnam.


"It has been more than a month since the first local cases of Covid-19 were identified and within a week's time, Guam stood ready to care for our USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) shipmates who have been dealing first hand with this virus," Menoni said in a statement.

He said the ship has been cleaned and the sailors are being sent back in rotation to the ship this week.

"While our front line teams remain focused on treating and keeping people healthy, keeping us supplied, and our local and federal government officials continue their work on mitigation measures to safeguard the community, I ask you for your continued focus on this fight," Menoni said.

He voted to continue enforcing the "rules of quarantine" to prevent unnecessary risks.

"Things may be difficult and inconvenient, but they are necessary for the good of all and the safety of our most vulnerable community members," Menoni said. "As we learn to live in this new reality, we must stay the course and focus on those positive actions that will steer us along the path to recovery. We must ignore those who choose negativity and ignite fear rather than lend their energies to finding real solutions."

Menoni said JRM will collaborate with Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero as the government prepares to implements its recovery plan.

"We cannot support an atmosphere of 'us vs. them' of any kind-- the idea that any group of people are more or less worth the effort and hardship to protect than any other," he said.


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