The vessel, an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer, is currently docked in San Diego after being recalled to port from its operations off the Pacific coast of Central America, where it was part of a fleet of warships conducting counter-narcotic operations against Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro.
In a statement, the U.S. Navy said that 63% of the Kidd’s crew had been tested for the coronavirus as of Tuesday.
According to the Navy, fifteen of the Kidd’s crew members have been transferred to the amphibious wasp-class warship USS Makin Island, where they will be put under close observation due to recurring symptoms.
The sailors ashore, meanwhile, will be isolated off-ship with twice-daily medical screenings, the U.S. Surface Forces Pacific said in a statement, adding that crew members who have tested negative will enter quarantine for a period of observation, which will include daily visits from military health professionals who will monitor for the development of any symptoms.
“A small contingent of negative tested sailors will remain on the ship for essential services and deep-cleaning. These sailors will be outfitted with appropriate personal protective equipment, and will maintain social distancing in accordance with the Center for Disease Control’s guidance,” the U.S. Surface Forces Pacific said.
According to a report posted by the United States Naval Institute (USNI), the Navy Bureau of Medicine and the CDC will undertake a voluntary serology study of the crew to learn more about the spread of the virus. This study, the report said, will involve collecting blood samples and swabs from the Kidd’s crew members. (Related: Government says there’s now a coronavirus outbreak on the U.S. Navy’s Mercy Hospital Ship near L.A.)
“Sailors have called San Diego home for many years, and we’re especially thankful for that relationship now,” Vice Adm. Richard Brown, commander of Naval Surface Forces, said.
“Taking care of our sailors and cleaning this ship is a team effort, and we’re fortunate that the partnership between the Navy and the city of San Diego is allowing us to focus on that mission,” Brown added.
In addition to medical professionals, the Navy will also be providing a resiliency counselor, a team of chaplains, and a psychologist for the sailors and crew members who will be in isolation and quarantine. Aside from that, the Navy said that it has also established a 24-hour roving patrol to ensure that sailors who are sequestered off-ship are adhering to all public health and safety policies.
The USS Kidd sailors have also been instructed to immediately report the development of any influenza-like symptoms to help prevent the spread of the virus.
The USS Kidd is the second U.S. Navy vessel to have an outbreak of the potentially life-threatening coronavirus, the first being the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt.
A Nimitz-class nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, the Theodore Roosevelt reported its first few cases of COVID-19 — the disease caused by the SARS-COV-2 virus — on March 24. According to official records, this was followed by an explosion of cases within the following weeks, which caused the ship to be forced into port in Guam.
As of this writing, 969 crew members or almost 20% of Roosevelt’s 4,800-crew workforce, have tested positive for the coronavirus, a significant number of whom are asymptomatic. One sailor has been confirmed to have died of the disease.