Several coronavirus patients were mistakenly delivered to the hospital ship USNS Comfort, highlighting the challenges faced by government officials and medical providers battling the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Comfort arrived in New York last Monday with a maximum capacity of 1,000 beds, and was intended to be used for non-coronavirus patients to clear space in the city’s hospitals to treat coronavirus patients.
The Covid-19 positive patients were transferred to the Comfort from the Javits Center in midtown Manhattan, which the Army Corps of Engineers had established as a makeshift 3,000 bed hospital. The Javits Center recently began accepting coronavirus patients, after President Donald Trump approved a request by New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, and needed to find somewhere to transfer those patients they believed not infected by the coronavirus.
Part of the hospital ship’s protocol requires all patients to have a coronavirus test before coming on board, and the patients are kept in isolation until the test results are confirmed. That protocol was critical in reducing the risk of transmitting Covid-19 to other patients on the ship, as a significant percentage of people who are infected with the coronavirus can show minimal or no symptoms but nonetheless be contagious.
According to Fox News, the patients who tested positive for Covid-19 have already been delivered back to the Javits Center to continue their treatment. Navy medical personnel on the Comfort — who had been wearing “complete PPE (personal protective equipment)” — while treating these patients were overseeing cleaning and disinfection of the areas where these patients were present on the ship.
Fewer than five patients have tested positive so far.
Cmdr. Ashley Hockycko, spokeswoman for U.S. Second Fleet, explained that the Comfort “has infection control procedures that are followed just like hospitals ashore.”
“Our medical experts on board are well prepared for cases like this, and have taken the appropriate precautionary measures,” said Hockycko. “The patients were isolated and received care aboard the ship while working to transfer the patients as soon as practical to the Javits Federal Medical Station, which is treating COVID-19 patients. The Comfort is capable of continuing its mission.”
Watch the video above, via Fox News.
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