According to an exclusive report by Fox News, "less than five" patients with coronavirus were accidentally transferred to the hospital ship the USS Comfort. US officials told Fox that the patients were accidentally housed on the Comfort on Friday.
The patients, transferred from the Javits Center, were screened for COVID-19, but spent the night on the Comfort before their tests came back positive.
"Part of the protocol before receiving patients onboard Comfort is for a coronavirus test to be performed. The swab test came back hours later, but not before the patients had spent a night onboard the vessel, which is only supposed to treat trauma patients, not COVID-19 positive patients," Fox reports.
Spokeswoman Cmdr. Ashley Hockyckotold said, "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.”
The Comfort was intended to be used as a trauma and overspill hospital. In recent days, there have been talks about changing the Comfort's mandate to allow the vessel to treat coronavirus patients.