A member of the crew of the coronavirus-infected USS Theodore Roosevelt warship died Monday of complications related to the disease, the Navy said, adding to setbacks for the sidelined aircraft carrier.
The sailor, whose name and other identifying information were not publicly released pending notification of relatives, had tested positive for coronavirus on March 30 and was taken off the ship and placed in “isolation housing” along with four other sailors at the U.S. Navy base on Guam. On April 9 he was found unresponsive during a medical check and was moved to a local hospital’s intensive care unit.
The Roosevelt has been the center of a coronavirus crisis of U.S. Navy leadership. The Navy’s civilian leader, Thomas Modly, fired the ship’s captain on April 2. Five days later, after flying to the ship and delivering a speech, saying Capt. Brett Crozier was either “too naive or too stupid” to be in charge of an aircraft carrier. Modly resigned Tuesday after facing blowback and after publicly apologizing for his comments about Crozier.
Crozier, who had been trying to bring attention to the COVID-19 outbreak aboard his ship, was given a hero’s sendoff by many in his crew as he departed.
As of Sunday, 585 members of the Roosevelt crew had tested positive for coronavirus. Nearly 4,000 crew members had been moved ashore.
The carrier has been docked in the U.S. territory since March 27.
More than 1,700 sailors who have tested negative are isolating in hotels, while the sick remain on base, Navy officials said.
Mary Rhodes, president of the Guam Hotel and Restaurant Association, declined to identify the hotels but said as many as 10 have been set aside to house up to 4,000 sailors. Seven of them had already stopped taking reservations and seen a dramatic drop in visitors as airlines canceled flights, she said.
Guam’s hotels frequently host military members, and the Department of Defense controls about a third of the island, which is 3,800 miles west of Honolulu and a crucial, strategic hub for U.S. forces in the Pacific.
Each sailor is staying in a room stocked with two weeks’ worth of linens, towels and water, Rhodes said. There is no contact with hotel workers, and only military police and medical teams can visit.
The Navy has sent masks, gloves and other safety equipment to the hotels, where employees make food that military personnel deliver, Rhodes said.
Not including the sailors, Guam has 133 confirmed coronavirus cases and five deaths as of Saturday.