The U.S. Navy confirmed Saturday the number of sailors aboard the guided missile destroyer USS Kidd confirmed to be infected with the Chinese coronavirus has nearly doubled, rising from 18 to 33.
The warship and crew of 350 are off the Pacific coast of South America working on a mission related to U.S. counter-drug activities.
In a statement issued Saturday, the Navy said an embarked medical team continues testing of the Kidd’s crew. Two sailors have been medically evacuated to the United States. Meanwhile, officials say those aboard the Kidd are wearing N95 masks and other personal protective equipment.
The Navy says the amphibious assault ship USS Makin Island is en route to rendezvous with Kidd in case medical support is required at sea. Officials say the Makin Island has a fleet surgical team, intensive care capacity and ventilators as well as additional testing capability.
The Kidd is the second Navy ship at sea to report an outbreak of the coronavirus.
As Breitbart News reported, the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt has more than 850 cases of infection among its nearly 5,000 crew members.
The U.S. Navy finished testing all sailors aboard the aboard the aircraft carrier on Thursday.
“As of today, 100% of USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) crewmembers have been tested for COVID-19, with 840 total positive and 4,098 negative results,” Pacific Fleet spokesman Navy Cmdr. J. Myers Vasquez said in a statement. He said a small number of results are still pending.
So far, there has been one sailor death. Four sailors are currently in hospital — down from a high point of nine last Tuesday, and one sailor who was in the Intensive Care Unit has improved and is one of the four in the hospital.
Most of the crew — 4,234 of approximately 4,885 sailors — have been moved ashore in Guam, where the Roosevelt is docked.
AP contributed to this story