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Air Force building medical facility in Guam to accommodate Roosevelt sailors with COVID-19

The Air Force is putting the finishing touches on an Expeditionary Medical Support System at U.S. Naval Hospital Guam — an effort designed to support crew members from the aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt as the ship recovers from a COVID-19 outbreak, according to the service.

Thousands of sailors have been evacuated from the ship since the Roosevelt first pulled into Guam on March 27. In response to the outbreak, the service is assembling the Expeditionary Medical Support System facility, known as EMEDS, which is slated for completion in just a few days.

“Our mission here is to help support the Navy operations with the USS Roosevelt,” Lt. Col. Damian Pardue, 36th Medical Group Administrator, said in an Air Force news release. “The intent is that we are ready for whatever we are needed for during this unprecedented time.”

Altogether, the EMEDS facility contains 11 medical units and six warehouse units to keep medical equipment — along with 25 beds designated to treat COVID-19 patients and 77 Air Force personnel to man the facility.

The project was spearheaded by the Air Force’s 36th Wing, based out of Andersen Air Force Base in Guam. Thanks to 30 airmen from the 554th Red Horse Squadron, the Air Force said the facility has “been almost completely finished within the span of just a couple days.”

Additionally, Hickam Air Force Base in Hawaii and Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson in Alaska have provided assistance by flying over medical supplies.

“It really is a culminated effort of many different units from multiple bases to pull off the logistics of getting all the supplies here for this operation,” Lt. Col. David Johnson, troop commander for the operation, said in a news release. “This is a huge operation that took a lot of work to complete, but in this instance, it was incredibly smooth.”

On Monday, the Navy reported that almost all — 94 percent — of the crew from the Roosevelt had been tested for COVID-19. Of those, the service said 678 sailors had tested positive while 3,904 sailors have tested negative.

A 41-year-old chief petty officer from the ship died from complications stemming from COVID-19 last week after he was admitted to the ICU at U.S. Naval Hospital Guam.

In addition to supporting sailors from the Roosevelt, the Air Force said the EMED facility should bolster the ability of U.S. Naval Hospital Guam to expand the Government of Guam’s medical capacity. Guam currently has less than 150 cases of COVID-19, according to Johns Hopkins University.

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