USNS Comfort Crew Member Tests Positive for COVID-19

A crew member of the U.S. Navy hospital ship USNS Comfort (T-AH-20) tested positive for coronavirus disease (COVID-19) on April 6, according to reports.

The individual is reportedly isolated from patients onboard the hospital ship and other crew members.

USNS Comfort is currently docked at Pier 90 on Manhattan’s West Side supporting the medical relief efforts in New York City and to relieve pressure on the New York hospital system amid the pandemic crisis.

It was announced earlier that the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) directed USNS Comfort to admit patients who have tested positive for COVID-19.

According to a statement from the U.S. Northern Command (USNORTHCOM), USNS Comfort will accept trauma, emergency and urgent care patients without regard to their COVID-19 status. The statement added that the military medical facility at Javits Center, now named the Javits New York Medical Station, will continue to be DoD’s primary facility for COVID-19 patients.

The ability to take COVID-19 patients onboard USNS Comfort provides increased capability to care for high severity COVID-positive cases, allowing the Javits New York Medical Station to focus on lower severity COVID-positive patients.

USNS Comfort was originally deployed to serve as a referral hospital for non-COVID-19 patients admitted to shore-based hospitals, providing a full spectrum of medical care to include general surgeries, critical care and ward care for adults. This was to allow local health professionals to focus on treating COVID-19 patients and for shore-based hospitals to use their Intensive Care Units and ventilators for those patients.

The hospital ship departed Naval Station Norfolk on March 28 and arrived in New York City on March 30. The ship started receiving its first non-COVID-19 patients on April 1.

The Navy’s other hospital ship USNS Mercy (T-AH 19) arrived in Los Angeles on March 27 to support the COVID-19 response efforts. The ship accepted its first patients on March 29.

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