Four more sailors assigned to an aircraft carrier that has seen more than 10% of its crew infected by the coronavirus are now in the hospital, officials said Monday.
The sailors, part of the aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt's crew, have been admitted to Naval Hospital Guam, Lt. j.g. Rachel McMarr, a spokeswoman for Pacific Fleet, said. They were admitted after testing positive for COVID-19, the sometimes-fatal illness caused by the coronavirus.
A fifth member of that crew who was infected with the virus died on Monday. He had been admitted to the hospital's intensive care unit after being found unresponsive last week.
Three of the hospitalized Roosevelt crew members are in fair condition, McMarr said. The condition of one of the sailors is unknown.
McMarr declined to say whether any were admitted to the intensive care unit or on ventilators. A defense official with knowledge of the sailors' cases said none of them have required intubation to help them breathe.
The coronavirus has spread rapidly through the Roosevelt's crew, infecting more than 585 members as of Monday. That's more than 60% of the Navy's 929 COVID-19 cases in the ranks.
Ten sailors have been hospitalized as a result of the illness.
The Roosevelt has been stuck in Guam for more than two weeks as Navy leaders work to evacuate the massive carrier and isolate the crew to stem the spread of the coronavirus. Capt. Brett Crozier, the former commanding officer who was removed from his position over the way he warned Navy leaders about the situation, said he was concerned inaction would lead to sailors dying.
The situation eventually led to the resignation of acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly.
Navy leaders announced on Monday that an East Coast carrier strike group would see its deployment extended as a result of the global pandemic. The Harry S. Truman Carrier Strike Group was on its way back to the U.S. after a Middle East Deployment. Now it will remain at sea in the Atlantic Ocean.
That crew has managed to remain COVID-19-free, and it's vital that the Navy have a healthy strike group at sea, Vice Adm. Andrew Lewis, the head of 2nd Fleet, told reporters on Monday.
"It's a very dynamic situation where we are learning very quickly as we go," he said.