• USNS Comfort, the hospital ship equipped with 1,000 beds, was previously designated to take non-coronavirus patients
  • The news came on the same day of Trump ordering inclusion of COVID-19 patients under its care
  • The Navy confirmed that the infected crewmember didn’t come into contact with patients in the ship

A crewmember aboard the U.S. Navy hospital ship USNS Comfort has tested positive for the coronavirus Monday and is currently in isolation inside the ship docked in New York City, the Navy said in a statement.

The ship, which was earlier slated to treat all but COVID-19 patients, was designated to take coronavirus patients also on Monday in a reversal of the decision by President Donald Trump based on Governor Andrew Cuomo’s request.

"There is no impact to Comfort’s mission, and this will not affect the ability for Comfort to receive patients," the Navy said, adding that the ship was following protocols and taking every precaution to safeguard all crewmembers and patients on board against COVID-19.

The Navy confirmed that the crewmember didn’t come into contact with patients amid speculations that the person may have been asymptomatic ever since the ship left its homeport of Norfolk, Virginia, on March 28, according to ABC News.

A Navy official said other crewmembers who has come into contact with the one who tested positive, tested negative for the virus, adding that they will also be held in isolation for several days.

The hospital ship, capacitated with 1,000 beds, docked off in Manhattan’s West Side last week in an effort to ease the burden of city hospitals overrun with coronavirus patients by accepting patients not infected with the illness. But Governor Cuomo, on Monday, called for Trump to include COVID-19 patients also. Pentagon was however opposed to the idea, asking Trump to restrict Comfort’s services to only those unrelated to the contagion, while the federal field hospital in the Javits Center treated COVID-19 patients.

As of Monday, 130,689 cases were reported in New York, the U.S. epicenter of the pandemic, and at least 5,000 people died. A total of 368,449 cases were reported so far in the U.S., with 10,993 total deaths.

coronavirus patients not allowed to board usns comfort
coronavirus patients not allowed to board usns comfort David Mark - Pixabay