After a month and a half laid up in San Diego due to an outbreak of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), the USS Kidd is finally back at sea.
The Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer returned to sea to resume its mission on Wednesday, the ship's commander announced in a letter of thanks to the people of San Diego.
“The San Diego region helped us do that by extending your collective arms and helping us respond to and recover from this insidious virus,” wrote Cmdr. Nathan Wemett.
The Kidd arrived at Naval Base San Diego on April 28 after dozens of sailors tested positive for COVID-19 while the vessel was participating in counter-narcotics operations in the Pacific under U.S. Southern Command.
A total of 78 sailors on the Kidd tested positive for COVID-19 by April 30 before the Navy stopped providing daily updates on the number of sickened sailors aboard the vessel.
The Kidd and the USS Theodore Roosevelt were the only two out of more than 90 Navy ships currently at sea that experienced significant COVID-19 outbreaks, according to Defense Secretary Mark Esper.
The initial outbreak prompted the Navy to deploy a specialized medical team to the ship to conduct contact tracing and additional onsite testing as the ship returned to San Diego.
Upon arrival in San Diego, Kidd sailors were isolated off-ship and subjected to twice-daily medical screening while the ship was entirely cleaned and disinfected.
By mid-May, the Navy transferred nearly 90 confirmed healthy sailors from quarantine back onto the Kidd to replace the ship's temporary caretaker crew.
“Today, the men and women of USS Kidd (DDG 100) return to sea to resume our mission, and we do so because of the support of the San Diego region,” wrote Wemett.”On behalf of our crew and our families, thank you, San Diego.”