This post has been updated with a Friday statement from the Navy and corrects the approximate location of USS Kidd.
The second deployed U.S. warship is suffering an outbreak of COVID-19, the Navy confirmed on Friday.
Guided-missile destroyer USS Kidd (DDG-100) has reported 18 sailors have tested positive for the virus, a Navy official confirmed to USNI News on Friday.
“A sailor assigned to USS Kidd tested positive for COVID-19 after being medically evacuated to the United States from operations at sea, April 23,” the service said in a statement subsequent to an earlier version of this post. “The sailor is stable and receiving care at a medical treatment facility in San Antonio, Texas. Kidd was underway in the U.S. 4th Fleet area of operations, in support of U.S. Southern Command.”
A medical team has been embarked on the destroyer and the ship is heading back to shore from its current location in the Eastern Pacific, though the final location to disembark the crew has yet to be determined, officials told USNI News. The service is expecting to discover more cases among the crew of Kidd as the medical team continues to test the more than 300 sailors aboard the destroyer.
“The first patient transported is already improving and will self-isolate. We are taking every precaution to ensure we identify, isolate, and prevent any further spread onboard the ship,” said U.S. 4th Fleet commander Rear Admiral Don Gabrielson in a Friday statement.
“Our medical team continues coordinating with the ship and our focus is the safety and well-being of every sailor.”
Reuters first reported the outbreak.
The cases on the destroyer follow a COVID-19 outbreak on carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71) last month. As of Thursday, the Navy had found 840 cases of the virus with 4,098 negative results.
As a result of the outbreak on Theodore Roosevelt the Navy has instituted a set of pre-deployment guidelines to the virus off of ships and procedures to mitigate the spread once COVID-19 is discovered on a ship underway.
As of Thursday, 26 ships – all not deployed — have reported at least one case of COVID-19 among their crews, Navy officials told USNI News.
Kidd was operating with U.S. 4th Fleet as part of a U.S. Southern Command anti-trafficking push announced on April 1.
The following is the complete April 24, 2020 statement from the U.S. Navy.
USS Kidd evacuates Sailor, embarks COVID-19 medical response team
PACIFIC OCEAN (April 24, 2020) – A Sailor assigned to USS Kidd (DDG 100) tested positive for COVID-19 after being medically evacuated to the United States from operations at sea, April 23. The Sailor is stable and receiving care at a medical treatment facility in San Antonio, Texas. USS Kidd was underway in the U.S. Fourth Fleet area of operations, in support of U.S. Southern Command.
Within 24 hours following the positive COVID-19 test of the Sailor, the Navy deployed a specialized medical team to the ship to conduct contact tracing and additional onsite testing. As of this morning, 17 additional Sailors have tested positive. Testing continues, and we expect additional cases. All measures are being taken to evaluate the extent of the COVID-19 transmission on the ship.
“The first patient transported is already improving and will self-isolate. We are taking every precaution to ensure we identify, isolate, and prevent any further spread onboard the ship,” said Rear Admiral Don Gabrielson, commander U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command/U.S. 4th Fleet. “Our medical team continues coordinating with the ship and our focus is the safety and well-being of every Sailor.”
The ship will return to port where the crew will continue to clean and disinfect the ship, observing protocols in accordance with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Navy-specific guidelines. Onboard test results will inform operational decisions. We will continue this aggressive approach to provide medical care to our Sailors and work to mitigate further spread.