A Pentagon spokesperson announced on Friday that a case of coronavirus was being carried on another ship belonging to the United States Navy’s strike team Theodore Roosevelt.
The Kidd-led missile destroyer is currently located in the East Pacific off South America. An American sailor disembarked. Pentagon chief spokesman Jonathan Hoffman told reporters at a news conference on Friday that there were other positive cases on board.
The Navy then said in a statement that the sailor assigned to the Kidd (DDG-100) tested positive and was taken to a hospital in San Antonio, Texas on Thursday.
“Testing continues, and we expect additional cases,” the statement added.
“The first patient transported is already improving and will self-isolate. We are taking every precaution to ensure we identify, isolate, and prevent any further spread onboard the ship,” said Rear Admiral Don Gabrielson, commander U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command/U.S. 4th Fleet. “Our medical team continues coordinating with the ship and our focus is the safety and well-being of every Sailor.”
Hoffman said a medical team flew to the American destroyer.
The aircraft carrier USS Kidd was originally planned in Everett, Washington, on the outskirts of Seattle, with approximately 330 crew members.
Hoffman said the warship is now going to port for decontamination. It is not clear where. Officials say the closest U.S. naval base is San Diego, California.
Kidd is the second American warship with at least twelve boxes when deployed at sea.
The aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt broke out on Guam a month ago on March 27. When TR went to Guam, destroyer Kidd was sent to the Pacific, which was part of the Pentagon’s plan to increase its anti-drug mission announced at the White House recently earlier this month.
On April 1, President Trump announced in the White House that the US military would send more warships, including “Navy Destroyer,” to bolster drug-fighting operations. The White House news conference attended by Defense Secretary Esper and other Pentagon executives did not specifically mention the Kidd.
“We’re deploying additional Navy destroyers, combat ships, aircraft, and helicopters; Coast Guard cutters; and Air Force surveillance aircraft, doubling our capabilities in the region,” Trump said.
Defense Secretary Esper then stated that the fleet is “at no risk” when it comes to reinforcements sent to anti-drug missions:
“We felt that there was no risk to the fleet, to our operations to free up, in this case, naval ships. We also freed up aircraft and other assets to apply them to this presidential priority.”
The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff appeared at the White House alongside the defense secretary.
“We’re at war with COVID-19, we’re at war with terrorists, and we are at war with the drug cartels as well,” Army Gen. Mark Milley added.