Nearly 50 sailors from the USS Kidd have tested positive for coronavirus, according to the US Navy.
The navy destroyer is the second US warship to be hit by an outbreak of the virus while at sea following the USS Theodore Roosevelt aircraft carrier.
At least 47 sailors from the Kidd came back positive with 45% of the crew having been tested, the Navy said in a statement Monday. That’s a rapid increase from Friday when CNN reported at least 18 sailors had the virus. There are typically 330 sailors on board.
Fifteen Sailors have been evacuated to the USS Makin Island for monitoring due to persistent symptoms.
The Navy had previously flown two sailors from the ship to the United States for medical treatment and had dispatched the Makin Island, an amphibious assault ship equipped with a fleet surgical team, intensive care unit capacity and ventilators to rendezvous with the USS Kidd to provide medical support if needed.
The Kidd is expected to pull into port in San Diego in the coming days so that the ship can be disinfected and cleaned and the crew isolated and quarantined.
Prior to the outbreak, the ship had been assigned to the recently enhanced counter narcotics mission in the Eastern Pacific aimed at countering illicit drug trafficking.
News of the outbreak aboard the USS Kidd comes as the number of cases from the USS Theodore Roosevelt has increased to 955 with 100% of the crew having been tested.
More than 4,200 sailors, some 85% of that ship’s crew, have been moved ashore to Guam where they are being isolated or quarantined. One sailor is currently being treated for coronavirus symptoms at the US Naval Hospital in Guam.
The handing of the outbreak aboard the aircraft carrier which led to the firing of the ship’s commanding officer, Capt. Brett Crozier and the resignation of the acting Navy Secretary, has been the subject of a Navy investigation.
US officials told CNN that senior Navy officials had recommended Friday that Crozier be reinstated but Secretary of Defense Mark Esper was not prepared to immediately endorse that recommendation.
Two defense officials told CNN that the Navy had expected Esper to endorse the recommendation on Friday.
A Pentagon spokesman said Friday that Esper “intends to thoroughly review the report and will meet again with Navy leadership to discuss next steps.”
Crozier was fired earlier this month for what the then-acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly said was poor judgment by too widely disseminating a warning among Navy officials about the spread of the virus aboard his vessel, a warning that eventually made its way into the press.
Modly resigned days later over his handling of the incident, actions which included a $240,000 trip to Guam where he slammed Crozier and admonished sailors for giving Crozier a rousing send off in public remarks to the crew.