Hours after the USNS Comfort announced that it would begin accepting patients with COVID-19, the Navy announced that one of the crewmembers was diagnosed with the virus. Officials said the crewmember is currently in isolation on the ship.
The crewmember did not have any contact with patients, and other members of the crew they interacted with tested negative for the virus. As a precaution, those crewmembers were also placed in isolation.
"There is no impact to Comfort's mission, and this will not affect the ability for Comfort to receive patients," the Navy said in a statement. "The ship is following protocols and taking every precaution to ensure the health and safety of all crewmembers and patients on board."
The USNS Comfort is docked in New York City and is serving as a floating hospital. While the ship was originally cleared to only treat patients who do not have COVID-19, officials reversed the decision and prepared the ship to handle patients who have the coronavirus.
"Taking on more patients as quickly as possible is critical to helping the city of New York during this pandemic crisis," said Vice Adm. Andrew Lewis, commander of the U.S. Second Fleet. "We listened to the feedback from area health professionals and the community and believe this is the best way we can help our fellow Americans."
To keep up to date on the latest news about the coronavirus and to understand what you need to stay safe and healthy, check out the Coronavirus: Fact vs. Fiction podcast from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta.
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