US Navy Destroyer Based in Hawaii has Outbreak of COVID-19

Navy destroyer crew has COVID-19
Destroyer Michael Murphy returning to Hawaii from a 2018 deployment - US Navy Photo Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Jessica O. Blackwell

Published Nov 20, 2020 5:32 PM by The Maritime Executive

The U.S. Navy confirmed reports that a guided missile destroyer, the USS Michael Murphy, is experiencing an outbreak of the CVOID-19 virus among its crew. Media reports are suggesting that it is a widespread outbreak with possibly a third of the vessel’s crew, which numbers approximately 350 sailors, impacted by the outbreak. Following its procedures, the Navy declined to comment on how many positive tests or sailors have been quarantined from the destroyer.

A spokesperson for the Navy confirmed that there had been positive tests for the virus among crew members aboard the vessel while it was docked at base in Hawaii. The first positive tests were reported at the beginning of November and confined to two clusters of sailors aboard the vessel. Everyone who tested positive was placed in isolation as well as close contacts of the infected sailors.

The Navy reported that the first group of sailors that were placed in isolation onshore is emerging from their quarantine and returning to service. None of the sailors required hospitalization.

NBC News, which was the first to report the outbreak on the Murphy said that the vessel had been placed in the hands of a caretaker crew and was being thoroughly cleaned.

This was the second recent outbreak of the virus among the Navy personnel on base in Hawaii. The Honolulu Star Advertiser newspaper reported that a second destroyer, the USS Wayne E. Meyer, also had several cases among its crew.

In the spring the Navy experienced high-profile outbreaks of the virus aboard the aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt and the destroyed Kidd. At the time, those outbreaks received broad media attention as the first significant clusters in the Navy. However, since then the Navy has increased its health and safety protocols both for sailors joining vessels as well as active personnel aboard all the ships of the fleet.

As the second wave of the virus has spread through the general population, the military has reportedly also experienced an increase in cases. CNN reported that on Tuesday the military record over 1,300 new cases across all branches of the armed forces according to the Department of Defense. In total, CNN reported that there are currently approximately 25,000 active cases of the virus across the military with more than 44,000 personnel have recovered in earlier cases of the virus.