Sailor in ICU after being found unresponsive from COVID-19, USS Nimitz on verge of “outbreak” of virus

A sailor assigned to the San Diego-based aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt is in intensive care at U.S. Naval Hospital Guam after being found unresponsive in his room, the Navy said Thursday.

The sailor tested positive for COVID-19 pon March 30, according to the Navy. NBC News reported the sailor was found unresponsive Thursday morning.

Air Force Gen. John Hyten, the vice chairman of the joint chiefs, said at the Pentagon Thursday that Roosevelt sailors in isolation with COVID-19 are checked twice a day and that this sailor’s health deteriorated overnight.

“We’re hoping that that sailor recovers,” Hyten said at a press briefing. “We’re praying for him and his family and his shipmates.”

As of Thursday, 416 sailors on the Roosevelt have tested positive for COVID-19, Hyten said, and most of the crew have now been tested. Test results for about 1,000 sailors are not in yet.

Navy-wide coronavirus numbers released Thursday show a total of 727 sailors have tested positive for the virus. Of those, 58 have recovered. Five are currently hospitalized.

Three Navy civilians have died from COVID-19 with 20 hospitalized, the Navy says.

The Roosevelt, with its compliment of about 4,800 sailors, pulled into Guam March 26 after several sailors on board tested positive for COVID-19. A letter, written by the ship’s commanding officer, Capt. Brett Crozier, asking the Navy for more assistance for its sailors was leaked and broadly publicized, resulting in Crozier’s firing on March 2.

Acting Navy secretary Thomas Modly defended Crozier’s firing in a profanity-laced speech over the Roosevelt’s public address system. He said Crozier was naive and stupid if he believed his letter wouldn’t be leaked.

Modley later apologized for those remarks and on Tuesday resigned.

Crozier’s letter warned that unless the Navy moved 90 percent of the crew off the ship, there would be losses to the virus.

Hyten said Thursday that 2,700 sailors have moved off the ship and are staying in hotels, houses and “different places.”

According to the Navy, sailors who test positive are housed in isolation on Naval Base Guam.

Hyten also said Thursday that has been a “very small number of breakouts” of COVID-19 on the Bremerton, Wa.-based carrier Nimitz.

“We’re watching that very closely,” Hyten said. ” But it’s not a huge breakout; it’s not a big spike at this point.”

The Nimitz is expected to deploy soon.

Hyten said Pentagon leadership anticipates more outbreaks of COVID-19 on ships.

“I think it’s not a good idea to think that the Teddy Roosevelt is a one-of-a-kind issue,” Hyten said.

“There’s 5,000 sailors on a nuclear powered aircraft carrier. To think that it will never happen again is not a good way to plan. What we have to do …. is plan for operations in these kind of COVID environments.”


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