WASHINGTON – The number of coronavirus cases aboard the USS Kidd rose to 64 as the Navy destroyer pulled into port at San Diego on Tuesday to get medical care for the crew and to disinfect and decontaminate the ship.
The Kidd is the second Navy ship to have an outbreak of the disease while at sea, the other being the USS Theodore Roosevelt, an aircraft carrier that has been docked at Guam for a month. The Roosevelt has more than 900 sailors with confirmed cases of COVID-19, but the entire crew has now been tested.
The Navy has moved swiftly to get the Kidd's crew ashore. That was a point of contention with the Roosevelt, whose skipper, Capt. Brett Crozier, felt compelled to write to several other commanders pleading for more urgent Navy action to protect his crew of nearly 5,000. Crozier was then relieved of command for what the Navy's top civilian official at the time, Thomas Modly, called poor judgment. Modly resigned several days later, and the Navy is now seeking higher-level approval to reverse his move and restore Crozier to command.
The Navy said that 63% of the Kidd's crew of more than 300 had been tested as of Tuesday. One sailor was medically evacuated to the United States on April 22 after experiencing shortness of breath. Fifteen were transferred to another ship with a medical facility for closer observation of symptoms.
Sailors being removed from the Kidd at San Diego will be isolated with twice-daily medical screenings. Crew members who have tested negative will enter quarantine for a period of observation, with military health professionals monitoring them for symptoms. Also, a small contingent of sailors who tested negative will remain on the ship for essential services and deep cleaning. The cleaning is expected to take two weeks.
The destroyer had been off the Pacific coast of Central American doing counter-narcotics operations.
With the Roosevelt and Kidd both in port, the Navy said no deployed ships currently have known coronavirus cases aboard. Thirteen ships that previously had one or more active cases while in port have zero cases now, the Navy said.