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Destroyer underway in Pacific fighting COVID-19 outbreak

The Navy is fighting another outbreak onboard an underway vessel.

A sailor from the destroyer Kidd tested positive for COVID-19 after being medically evacuated from the ship on April 23.

A COVID-19 medical response team was subsequently flown out to the destroyer, which was underway in the eastern Pacific, to conduct additional testing and virus tracing.

Seventeen additional crew members have since tested positive, Navy officials said.

“Testing continues, and we expect additional cases,” the Navy said in an April 24 release. “All measures are being taken to evaluate the extent of the COVID-19 transmission on the ship.”

The sailor who was removed from the ship was flown to a treatment facility in San Antonio, Texas, where the individual is reportedly in stable condition.

“The first patient transported is already improving and will self-isolate,” Rear Admiral Don Gabrielson, commander U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command and U.S. 4th Fleet, said in the release.

“We are taking every precaution to ensure we identify, isolate, and prevent any further spread onboard the ship. Our medical team continues coordinating with the ship and our focus is the safety and well-being of every Sailor.”

The destroyer is expected to head toward its homeport of Naval Station Everett in Washington state, where it will begin undergoing deep cleaning and disinfecting in accordance to guidelines provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“Onboard test results will inform operational decisions,” the release said. “We will continue this aggressive approach to provide medical care to our Sailors and work to mitigate further spread.”

The outbreak onboard the destroyer Kidd comes just after the sea service concluded its testing of 100 percent of the crew assigned to the aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt.

As of Friday, 840 sailors assigned to TR have tested positive for COVID-19. A “small number” of tests are still pending, Navy officials said. Four sailors are currently receiving care at U.S. Naval Hospital Guam.

Nearly 90 percent of the crew has been moved onto the island, where the ship has been ported since March 27.

Chief Aviation Ordnanceman Charles Robert Thacker, Jr., 41, died April 13 at U.S. Naval Hospital Guam due to COVID-19 complications.

Thacker was moved to the ICU on April 9 after being found unresponsive by other quarantined sailors. He is the only Theodore Roosevelt sailor to have succumbed to the virus.

Navy officials would not specify whether Thacker had any preexisting medical conditions that made him more susceptible to COVID-19.

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