Navy destroyer with COVID-19 outbreak bound for San Diego; 1 in 5 on Theodore Roosevelt now have virus

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SAN DIEGO — San Diego will be the next stop for a deployed Navy destroyer experiencing an outbreak of the novel coronavirus, a Defense Department official said Monday.

The guided-missile destroyer Kidd was conducting counter-drug operations off the Pacific coast of South America last week when sailors began exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.

As of Monday, 47 sailors have tested positive for the virus, the Navy said. Two have been flown ashore to the United States; another 15 were moved to the San Diego-based amphibious assault ship Makin Island.

The Defense Department official, who was not authorized to comment on the matter, said plans are still being finalized about what will be done once the Kidd arrives in San Diego. Kidd’s home port is Everett, Wash. It has a crew of more than 300.

In Guam, where the Navy evacuated more than 4,000 sailors from the San Diego-based aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt because of the virus, the service rented hotels on the island to house sailors in quarantine.

The Navy said Monday that 955 Roosevelt sailors have tested positive for the novel coronavirus, about one in five crew members. About half the infected are showing no symptoms, the Navy says.

The service also changed how it determines if a sailor has recovered from COVID-19. On Saturday, the Navy reported 112 Roosevelt sailors had recovered from the virus; now, it says, only 14 have.

“Cases now are not counted as recovered until the Sailor has had two successive negative tests,” the Navy said in a statement.

One sailor remains hospitalized at Naval Hospital Guam with COVID-19 symptoms.

Marine Corps boot camp continues, altered by virusThe San Diego Marine Corps Recruit Depot is set to receive its next company of about 275 recruits this week under a new receiving process that includes precautions against the coronavirus, a Marine spokesman said Monday.

Recruits from India Company — who are slated to begin arriving Monday evening — will be tested upon arrival and again after their quarantine, Harris said.

A number of recruits from the depot’s Bravo Company tested positive for the virus early in April, leading to changes in how new companies are accepted.

Recruits are now medically screened upon arrival, then sent to a local hotel for quarantine.

Echo Company, which arrived at the depot April 13, is almost finished with its quarantine, according to Capt. Martin Harris, a depot spokesman. The Marines are testing each recruit for the novel coronavirus this week before bringing them back on board the depot to begin training, Harris said.

Navy cancels spring E-4 examsAt least 20,000 junior sailors will not take the Navy-wide petty officer advancement exam this cycle, the Navy said Monday, citing concerns over the coronavirus.

Navy-wide exams are conducted in three consecutive weeks twice per year — one round in September and another in March. Exams for petty officer 1st class, or E-6, were conducted March 6. Exams for petty officer 2nd class, or E-5, took place March 12.

However, the E-4 exam, scheduled for March 19, was postponed due to the need for social distancing during the tests, which often are held with large numbers of sailors grouped together in common spaces on board ships and ashore. Initially pushed back to May, the Navy now says the tests are canceled.

Instead, sailor promotions will be based on other factors, such as performance evaluation scores, awards and time in rank.


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