- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Seven crew members aboard the USNS Mercy hospital ship that has been docked in Los Angeles since late March have tested positive for COVID-19, according to Navy officials.

Like the USNS Comfort, which has been docked in New York, the Navy hospital ships have been treating non-coronavirus patients in an effort to free up hospital space in land-based hospitals in the two major cities. The Comfort has since been instructed to accept coronavirus patients as New York has emerged as a U.S. epicenter of the virus.

The crew members who tested positive are believed to have worked in the ship’s medical treatment facility and have been moved into isolation off the ship, a Navy spokesperson told Politico Tuesday.

Those who had reported being in close contact with the crew members who tested positive have quarantined off the ship and have all tested negative for the virus.

“The ship is following protocols and taking every precaution to ensure the health and safety of all crewmembers and patients on board,” Commander John Fage said. He explained the situation does not impact the ship’s ability to treat its patients.

The USNS Mercy holds 1,000 beds and roughly 800 doctors, nurses and medical staff.

• Lauren Toms can be reached at lmeier@washingtontimes.com.

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