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Coronavirus patients spend night on Navy hospital ship meant for non-infected New York patients

A army officer subsequent to the USNS Comfort Navy hospital ship situated at Pier 90 to take care of sufferers not associated to Covic-19 on March 31, 2020 in New York City.

Pablo Monsalve | Getty Images

Multiple coronavirus sufferers spent Friday night time aboard the USNS Comfort after federal officers stated the Navy hospital ship was solely presupposed to deal with non-coronavirus sufferers.

The Navy stated “less than five” sufferers have been transferred to the ship Friday night from the Jacob Okay. Javits Center in New York City. The sufferers have been transferred again to the Javits Center “as soon as practical,” a Navy spokesperson stated.

The Javits Center has been transformed into a short lived hospital to deal with coronavirus sufferers amid the town’s epidemic, whereas the Comfort is meant to obtain sufferers who haven’t got the virus to reduction stress on the town’s hospitals. 

Hospital leaders in New York City, nonetheless, have criticized the Comfort’s deployment as “a joke” for not accepting COVID-19 sufferers and failing to offer tangible reduction to strained hospitals. The 1,000-bed hospital ship, which arrived in New York Monday, has handled 27 sufferers as of Saturday morning, based on a Navy spokesperson.

“If I’m blunt about it, it’s a joke,” Michael Dowling, the top of Northwell Health hospital system told The New York Times earlier in the week. “Everyone can say, ‘Thank you for putting up these wonderful places and opening up these cavernous halls.’ But we’re in a crisis here, we’re in a battlefield.”

COVID-19 has contaminated greater than 113,700 individuals throughout New York state and killed at the very least 3,565 individuals, Gov. Andrew Cuomo stated Saturday. More than half of all instances within the state are in New York City with at the very least 63,306 individuals testing optimistic, based on knowledge from Johns Hopkins University. 

The sufferers transferred to the Comfort Friday had not beforehand been examined for COVID-19, Navy spokesperson Beth Baker stated, and so they remained “isolated” on the ship pending outcomes of assessments administered aboard the Comfort. It takes about 24 hours to obtain the outcomes of the assessments, she added.

“While admitting patients who were transferred to USNS Comfort for treatment, a few patients tested positive for COVID-19,” Baker stated in a press release.

Fox News first reported the story.

Bureaucratic obstacles and army procedures have prevented the Comfort from accepting extra sufferers, according to the New York Times. The Navy disseminated pointers to New York hospitals that included a listing of 49 medical situations that may preclude a affected person’s admittance to the ship, the Times reported. 

“Since arrival, the hospital ship has worked closely with city and local health officials for non- COVID-19 patient referrals that arrive by ambulance from either local hospitals or the Javits Federal Medical Station,” A Navy spokesperson stated. “We will continue to coordinate hospital-to-hospital transfer of patients to USNS Comfort.”

The Pentagon announced Friday that it had expedited the screening process for individuals to obtain care on the Comfort to extra rapidly relieve overwhelmed New York hospitals. As a outcome, the method not requires a affected person to check unfavorable for the coronavirus earlier than boarding.

“What is different is that instead of requiring a negative COVID-19 test prior to arrival at USNS Comfort, we are now accepting asymptomatic, screened patients who will be isolated and tested immediately upon arrival,” a Navy spokesperson stated in a press release.

The screening course of now consists of a pier-side temperature verify and well being questionnaire, Pentagon officers stated Friday. The ship is docked at Pier 90 on Manhattan’s west facet.

The Comfort and its twin ship the Mercy, which was deployed to Los Angeles, have been reworked from hulking oil tankers into 1,000-bed hospital ships. They are each practically three soccer fields lengthy and 10 tales excessive, making them indisputably the most important hospital ships on this planet.

Both ships have facet ports to tackle sufferers at sea in addition to helicopter decks for air transport. The ships are so huge, every could be tantamount to the fourth-biggest hospital within the United States.

The USNS Mercy and USNS Comfort are geared up with 12 working rooms, a blood financial institution, a medical laboratory, a pharmacy, an optometry lab and a CT scanner. Each has 15 affected person wards, 80 ICU beds and 10 elevators to switch sufferers between decks.

— CNBC’s Amanda Macias contributed to this report


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