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COVID-19 outbreak sidelines another deployed Navy warship

The Arleigh Burke-class destroyers USS Kidd (DDG 100), USS Dewey (DDG 105) and USS Pinckney (DDG 91). (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Benjamin Crossley/Released)

Another Navy warship is being sidelined with an outbreak of COVID-19 on board, military officials said Friday.

Several sailors on board the guided-missile destroyer Kidd, which is based in Everett, Washington, have tested positive for the novel coronavirus, according to Jonathan Hoffman, chief Pentagon spokesman. Hoffman announced the outbreak during a Pentagon news conference Friday morning.

One sailor was flown off the ship to San Antonio, Texas, for treatment. As of Friday, 17 additional sailors on board have tested positive for the virus, according to a Navy news release.

“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,” the Navy said in a statement. “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 Kidd is conducting drug interdiction operations in the eastern Pacific off the coast of South America, officials said.

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The guided-missile destroyer left its home port in Washington state in January, making a stop in San Diego to join the Theodore Roosevelt Carrier Strike Group when it left for its deployment, according to a post on the ship’s Facebook page.

The aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt has been sidelined in Guam with its own coronavirus outbreak, affecting more than 17 percent of its roughly 4,800 sailors. One sailor on the Roosevelt died of COVID-19 complications.

It’s unclear how the virus came on board either ship, Defense officials have said. However, the Roosevelt made a port call in Da Nang, Vietnam, 15 days before its first confirmed case of the virus. That country had known cases of the disease at the time.

The Kidd was not with the Roosevelt at the time its strike group made that port call, having already been redirected to the eastern Pacific, said Lt. j.g. Rachel McMarr, a Pacific Fleet spokeswoman.

The Kidd is returning to port where the crew will “continue to clean and disinfect the ship,” the Navy said.

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© 2020 The San Diego Union-Tribune