Sailor from USS Roosevelt Dies of COVID-19

7th Fleet commander Vice Adm. William Merz addresses members of USS Roosevelt's crew, April 7 (USN)

Published Apr 13, 2020 1:52 PM by The Maritime Executive

A sailor from the carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt has died of COVID-19, according to the U.S. Navy. 

The victim was the same individual who was found unconscious in his isolation room and taken to U.S. Naval Hospital Guam last Thursday. He has been identified by media as a chief petty officer, though his name is being withheld pending family notification. 

"The entire department is deeply saddened by the loss of our first active duty member to COVID-19," said Secretary of Defense Mark Esper in a statement Monday. "Our thoughts are with the family of the USS Theodore Roosevelt sailor who lost his battle with the virus today. We remain committed to protecting our personnel and their families while continuing to assist in defeating this outbreak."

The victim from USS Roosevelt is the first active-duty servicemember to die from the novel coronavirus across the armed forces. A reservist medic, Army Capt. Douglas Linn Hickok, died late last month in Pennsylvania. 

As of Monday, 585 sailors of the USS Roosevelt's 4,800-member crew have tested positive for the novel coronavirus, with several hundred test results still pending. The Navy has made arrangements for disembarking the majority of the crew in Guam in order to provide adequate space for social distancing, quarantine and isolation measures. A skeleton crew remains on board to operate and guard the ship's vital systems, and ship-wide disinfection is under way. 

A team of medical professionals assigned to 3rd Medical Battalion, 3rd Marine Logistics Group, III Marine Expeditionary Force have deployed to Guam in order to augment the ship's COVID-19 response efforts. About 230 sailors and marines arrived in Guam this month to support USS Roosevelt’s onboard medical staff while the ship is in port.