The U.S. Navy hospital ship USNS Comfort departs Naval Air Station Norfolk Pier 8, Saturday, March 28, 2020, en route to New York City where she will support the city’s response to COVID-19. (The U.S. Navy hospital ship USNS Comfort departs Naval Air Station Norfolk Pier 8, Saturday, March 28, 2020, en route to New York City where she will support the city’s response to COVID-19. (Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead)
U.S. officials told Fox News that “multiple” coronavirus patients were mistakenly transferred from the Javits Center to the hospital ship Comfort, despite the fact that Comfort is supposed to treat trauma patients, not coronavirus patients.
The patients were transferred sometime Friday, according to the officials. At the time the patients were transferred to the hospital ship Comfort, the initial screening did not indicate they were positive, officials said.
Part of the protocol before receiving patients onboard Comfort is for a coronavirus test to be performed. The swab test came back hours later, the patients remained in isolation and spent a night onboard the vessel….
The Covid-19 positive patients have already been delivered back to the Javits center Saturday morning to continue their treatment, one official said.
The Javits Center has been transformed into a 3,000 bed makeshift hospital by the Army Corps of Engineers.
The officials called the risk to the hospital ship’s crew “low,” because of the protocols were already in place.
“We were prepared with a contingency plan in case we received patients that later tested positive. Immediately upon arrival the patients were isolated while awaiting the test results,” the official added.
Spokeswoman for the U.S. Second Fleet, Cmdr. Ashley Hockycko, told Fox News:
“While admitting patients who were transferred to USNS Comfort for treatment, a few patients tested positive for COVID-19.
“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. 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.”
Military officials are “reassessing” the policy of not treating COVID-19 patients onboard Comfort and Mercy, the two Navy hospital ships currently stationed in New York City and Los Angeles, according to Army Gen. Mark Milley of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, but a decision is not imminent.