USS Theodore Roosevelt ports on Guam; infected sailors to be transported to Naval Hospital

 A Navy aircraft is seen over the Naval Hospital Guam in Agana Heights on Wednesday. Photo by Jan SN Furukawa




The number of Covid-19 positive sailors aboard the USS Theodore Roosevelt— which docked in Guam waters on Friday — has climbed to 23, the Navy said.


As testing continues, the Naval Operations Public Affairs said additional positive tests are anticipated and sailors found infected will be transported to the U.S. Naval Hospital Guam for further evaluation and treatment as necessary.


“The resources at our naval medical facilities in Guam will allow us to more effectively test, isolate, and if necessary treat sailors,” reads a statement from Adm. Mike Gilday, chief of Naval Operations Public Affairs.


The Nimitz-class carrier has 5,000 crewmembers on board, who are currently in quarantine. A news release from the Navy last month said the USS Theodore Roosevelt crew included 20 soldiers who are from Guam.


“During the port visit, base access will be limited to the pier for Roosevelt's sailors. No base or regional personnel will access the pier,” the public affairs office said. Dave Werner, spokesman for U.S. Pacific Fleet, said the USS Theodore Roosevelt is in Guam for a scheduled port visit.


“For the health and safety of the crew and the local community, sailors will be limited to the pier and no other personnel will be allowed to access the pier," Werner said in an email to Pacific Island Times.


The 23 Covid-19 infected soldiers add to the 45 local cases on Guam. Werners said the Navy will continue releasing daily totals of active duty sailors and Navy civilians who test positive for Covid -19.


"The Pacific Fleet will add its findings daily to this Navy-wide accounting update, including the geographic area to which the affected Sailors are assigned. In the interests of preserving operational security, however, detail concerning specific units will be withheld to prevent compromising operational security," Werner said.


"(The carrier) has docked away from other; they are isolated there," Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero said. "The Navy has their their own very strict protocols; it follows our own protocol. As we all go, we all use the federal approved community disease control protocol. I am assured by the admiral that his sailors will be out of the base. They won't even go to base."


The USS Theodore Roosevelt left its homeport of San Diego, Calif. on Jan. 17 for a regularly-scheduled deployment to the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations. The fourth Nimitz-class nuclear powered aircraft carrier arrived on Guam for a port visit on Feb. 7.


Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Michael Gilday said the carrier's last port call was in Danang, Vietnam, more than two weeks ago, at a time when Vietnam had 16 covid-19 cases in the north of the country, away from Danang.


The first four sailors who tested positive were evacuated to the Navy Hospital Guam after being airlifted from the carrier on Tuesday.


"As testing continues, additional positive cases of Covid-19 have been discovered aboard USS Theodore Roosevelt. We are taking this threat very seriously and are working quickly to identify and isolate positive cases while preventing further spread of the virus aboard the ship. No sailors have been hospitalized or are seriously ill,” Gilday said,


The public affairs office said the Navy’s medical team aboard USS Theodore Roosevelt is performing testing for the crew consistent with CDC guidelines and working to increase the rate of testing as much as possible. `Immediate priority will be symptomatic sailors, those in close contact with Sailors who have tested positive already, and essential watch standers. We are isolating those who test positive,” Gilday said.


“Testing will continue as necessary to ensure the health of the entire ship's crew. In addition, the medical staff will continue to actively monitor the health of the crew. Deep cleaning of the ship's spaces is also ongoing.” “We're taking this day by day. Our top two priorities are taking care of our people and maintaining mission readiness. Both of those go hand in glove. We are confident that our aggressive response will keep USS Theodore Roosevelt able to respond to any crisis in the region."


"(The carrier) has docked away from other; they are isolated there," Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero said. "The Navy has their  their own very strict  protocols; it follows our own protocol. As we all go, we all use the federal approved community disease control protocol. I am assured by the admiral that his sailors will be out of the base. They won't even go to base."


At the regular video conference, Leon Guerrero said, “The whole system of the military isn’t going to impact the community. They’re going to provide the test themselves.”


“[The military] are going to provide the isolations facilities themselves. They’re going to provide the quarantine facilities themselves. Nothing that they are going to be doing in terms of in infection control actions, in terms of surveillance, in terms of quarantine is going to impact our community—our civilian side. They have their own system—their own supply inventory.”


 Some in the community raised concern  about how USS Roosevelt will dispose of their medical waste as they docked on Guam. “Admiral Menoni and his expertise of people are working closely with us,” Leon Guerrero said. “The CDC people is working closely with the epidemiologist there. He also had explained to me that if necessary, they would bring their own expertise—their infrastructure of healthcare delivery system. As far as the waste, I’ll also have EPA work with them to see they are following CDC guidelines of waste disposal.”












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