Guam press conference
Rear Adm. John Menoni announces quarantine plans at the press conference in Guam. Image from video

The governor of Guam announced Wednesday the territory will provide vacant hotel rooms to house crew from the USS Theodore Roosevelt who do not have coronavirus.

Nearly 100 sailors have tested positive for COVID-19 since the San Diego-based aircraft carrier docked at Guam last week, and the ship’s captain appealed to the Navy to provide shore housing for his crew to prevent further cases.

Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero and Rear Adm. John Menoni, commander of the Navy’s Joint Region Marianas, announced the quarantine plan at news conference in Hagatna, the island’s capital.

“The plan at this time is to remove as many people off the USS Teddy Roosevelt as we can, understanding that we have to leave a certain amount of folks on board to do normal watchstanding duties to keep the ship running,” Menoni said.

He said 40 medical personnel from the 3rd Marine Expeditionary Force would be dispatched to Guam to help treat sailors aboard the ship and in shore housing.

Acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly said at a later news conference that 93 sailors have tested positive for COVID-19. All but seven of those are exhibiting symptoms of the virus, he said, but no one has required hospitalization.

He said about 1,000 sailors have been moved off the ship so far, with plans to move an additional 2,000 sailors by Friday. The carrier has a crew of nearly 4,000 plus a 2,000-member air wing.

Modly said Capt. Brett Crozier’s letter to Navy leadership warning of the danger to the carrier’s crew was “exactly what we want our commanding officers, our medical teams to do.”

The letter was obtained by the San Francisco Chronicle, and Modly said the Navy would prefer to keep such communication private, but “the fact that he wrote the letter of his to his chain of command to express his concerns would absolutely not result in any type of retaliation.”

Updated at 5:10 p.m., Wednesday, April 1, 2020

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Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.