Most of the destroyer USS Chafee’s crew have been placed in hotels in the San Diego area on Restriction of Movement Status after at least a dozen crew members tested positive for the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), said Cmdr. Sean Robertson, a spokesman for 3rd Fleet.
“A caretaker crew will remain aboard in order to support the ship’s operational and material readiness, and execute necessary support functions,” Robertson said in a statement. “The ship will be cleaned in accordance with U.S. Pacific Fleet and Navy guidance. No sailors from the crew have been hospitalized and all positives are in isolation in accordance with U.S. Pacific Fleet guidance.”
The Chafee’s entire crew was tested for COVID-19 on Friday, he said.
Geoff Ziezulewicz of Navy Times was first to report about the COVID-19 outbreak aboard the Chaffee, and that crew members were concerned that the disease was spreading rapidly through the ship’s crew of roughly 350 sailors.
Sailors aboard the Chafee also told Navy Times that a ship-wide COVID-19 test that had been scheduled for Jan. 23 was canceled and crew members did not have enough N95 masks.
After Navy Times’ reporting, Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Mike Gilday sent an email to fleet commanders ordering that all of the Chafee’s crew be tested.
“One hundred percent testing is the right thing to do,” Gilday wrote in the email, Task & Purpose has confirmed. “I want to assure the Chafee crew, families and our Navy that we are doing all we can to ensure the crew is safe.”
The destroyer USS Chafee returns to Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam from an independent deployment to the Western Pacific and South America, Jan. 12, 2018. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Justin R. Pacheco.)