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Nearly 25% of sailors from Pearl Harbor destroyer USS Michael Murphy contract coronavirus

CRAIG T. KOJIMA / SEPT. 2
                                U.S. Navy sailors aboard the USS Michael Murphy salute as they pass in review at Pearl Harbor during the official ceremonies marking the 75th anniversary of the Japanese surrender that ended World War II in September. A “major coronavirus outbreak” has occurred on the Pearl Harbor-based destroyer, CNN reported today.
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CRAIG T. KOJIMA / SEPT. 2

U.S. Navy sailors aboard the USS Michael Murphy salute as they pass in review at Pearl Harbor during the official ceremonies marking the 75th anniversary of the Japanese surrender that ended World War II in September. A “major coronavirus outbreak” has occurred on the Pearl Harbor-based destroyer, CNN reported today.

About half of a large number of sailors found to be COVID-19 positive on the Pearl Harbor destroyer USS Michael Murphy recently are now almost out of isolation, an official said.

NBC News was the first to report the outbreak, which affected nearly a quarter of the crew of 300. By the end of the week, the majority of the ship is expected to be back at work. There were no hospitalizations.

Personnel assigned to Michael Murphy tested positive for coronavirus on Nov. 4, Cmdr. Nicole Schwegman, a spokeswoman for the Navy’s Surface Forces Pacific in San Diego, said in a statement.

“In accordance with policy, we do not discuss COVID-19 numbers at the unit level. Personnel who have tested positive for COVID-19 have been placed in isolation,” she said.

Schwegman said that out of an abundance of caution, all close contacts and non-essential crew members are undergoing a two-week self-isolation period in accordance with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Guidelines.

Additionally, several cases of COVID-19 occurred on the Pearl Harbor destroyer USS Wayne E. Meyer.

On the Michael Murphy, two clusters of coronavirus were identified, an official said. The first group identified in the first few days are almost out of isolation that took place on base and in homes in the community.

As for spread on Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, “there’s been nothing identified,” the official said. “It was kind of isolated to that ship.”

The ship is doing local operations but was in port when the virus was detected. A caretaker crew that tested negative maintained basic functions on the destroyer.

The number of COVID-19 cases within Hawaii’s military community is “a little below 7%” of the state’s total since March, U.S. Indo-Pacific Command said last week. Military cases are reported within the state totals, but a civilian and military breakdown is not provided.

The Indo-Pacific Command percentage meant there were no more than 1,148 military cases as of last Friday’s cumulative 16,412 positives. The Defense Department still generally sticks to a policy of not reporting coronavirus cases at the local level and instead notes them as part of service branch totals.

According to the state, about 43,000 active-duty members, 9,600 Guard and Reserve, 60,000 dependents and 20,000 military employees call Hawaii home.

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