Navy battles coronavirus outbreak aboard the Mercy hospital ship docked in LA as seven crew members test positive
- Seven crew members on USNS Mercy have tested positive for coronavirus
- The infected crew members have been isolated off the ship
- Another 120 crew members who have come into contact with the infected sailors have also been quarantined ashore
- The Mercy is not taking COVID-19 patients
- Concerns have been raised that crew brought the virus onboard after many were redeployed from facilities where military staff are being treated for coronavirus
- Four crew members onboard the USNS Comfort hospital ship in New York have also tested positive
- Both the Mercy and the USNS Comfort continue to be mostly empty of patients
- Mercy is treating just 20 non-coronavirus patients, despite having 1,000 beds
- Comfort is now taking coronavirus patients but has so far treated only 120 patients in total, with around half having a coronavirus diagnosis
- A sailor on the USNS Roosevelt aircraft carrier died from coronavirus on Monday
- Learn more about how to help people impacted by COVID
The Navy is battling a coronavirus outbreak aboard the USNS Mercy hospital ship docked in Los Angeles as seven crew members have tested positive for the deadly infection.
Navy spokesperson Cmdr. John Fage said that the infected crew members have been isolated off the ship and that the cases will not impact its ability to take patients.
The outbreak on the USNS Mercy marks yet another blow for the Navy, after four crew members onboard the USNS Comfort hospital ship in New York have also tested positive and a sailor on the USNS Roosevelt aircraft carrier died from coronavirus on Monday.
Navy officials confirmed Monday that four more sailors onboard the Mercy had tested positive for the virus over the weekend, bringing its total cases among crew to seven.
The USNS Mercy docked in the Port of Los Angeles. The Navy is battling an outbreak onboard the ship after seven crew members have now tested positive for coronavirus
‘Seven Medical Treatment Facility crew members on board USNS Mercy have tested positive for COVID-19 and are currently isolated off the ship,’ Fage said in an email to the San Diego Tribune.
‘The ship is following protocols and taking every precaution to ensure the health and safety of all crewmembers and patients on board.’
Crew members who have come into contact with the infected sailors have also disembarked the ship and gone into quarantine, although all have tested negative for the virus.
In addition to the seven who have contracted coronavirus, another 120 of the 1,000 crew members are quarantined ashore, according to Business Insider.
The outbreak does not affect the Mercy’s ability to receive patients, Fage said.
Sailors transfer a patient aboard the hospital ship to the intensive care unit on Monday. The infected crew members have been isolated ashore and another 120 of the 1,000 crew who came into contact with them are also in quarantine
Medical staff prepare a patient for a CT scan onboard the Mercy. Navy spokesperson Cmdr. John Fage insisted the cases among crew members will not impact its ability to take patients
The USNS Mercy left San Diego on March 23 and docked in the Port of Los Angeles on March 27 to ease the strain on California’s hospitals.
The first case among Mercy crew members was reported on Wednesday, before the Navy confirmed another two Friday.
Sailors have raised concerns that medical crew may have brought the virus on board the hospital ship after many were redeployed from Navy medical facilities where military members are being treated for coronavirus, including Naval Medical Center San Diego.
This comes as four crew members on board the USNS Comfort hospital ship have also tested positive for coronavirus.
Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Dane Chambers working on a ward on the Mercy. Sailors have raised concerns that medical crew brought the virus on board the ship after being redeployed from Navy medical facilities where military members are being treated for coronavirus
Sailors attend Sunday Easter sunrise service on the flight deck aboard the hospital ship USNS Mercy
Three have so far fully recovered and returned to work onboard the ship, and one remains in quarantine.
The Navy is also grappling with an outbreak onboard the doomed aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt, where the ship’s captain was notoriously fired for sounding the alarm of an outbreak.
One sailor died of complications from the virus on Monday, Navy officials revealed, and at least 585 sailors have now tested positive for the virus.
Both the Mercy and the USNS Comfort, which arrived in New York on March 30, have been plagued by red tape as they have been turned into civilian hospitals.
Drafted in to help the healthcare systems in their respective states bring the pandemic under control, beds in both facilities have consistently lay empty as regulations initially insisted they could only accept non-COVID-19 patients.
The Mercy is currently treating just 20 non-coronavirus patients, despite having a capacity of 1,000 beds, according to Business Insider.
Four crew members onboard the USNS Comfort hospital ship in New York (above) have also tested positive for coronavirus
In New York, Governor Andrew Cuomo called for the Comfort to begin accepting COVID-19 patients and last week President Donald Trump approved his plea.
Following the move, the ship is now taking more patients but its intake still dwarfs that of the state’s hospitals, where wards are overflowing and body bags line the corridors.
The Comfort can take around 500 patients – allowing for social distancing practices – but has so far treated only 120 in total, with around half having a coronavirus diagnosis.
It is currently treating just 70 patients, of which 34 are in intensive care.