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A crew member aboard the USNS Comfort, the naval hospital ship located in New York, has tested positive for coronavirus, Fox News has confirmed.
The news came after President Trump confirmed that the 1,000-bed vessel will begin treating corona virus cases after it was originally sent to Manhattan to address non-pathogen-related cases.
In a statement from Fox News, the Navy said: “A crew member aboard USNS Comfort tested positive for COVID-April 19. The crew member is isolated from patients and other crew members.
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“It has no impact on Comfort̵
The news was initially reported by ABC News, which reported that the crew had no contact with patients and other crew members who had contacted them had tested negative for the virus, but would remain in isolation for several days by an abundance of warning.
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Earlier Monday, President Trump granted New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s request that the ship begin to take cases of coronavirus.
“He [Cuomo] called me a while ago and asked if it would be possible to use the ship to fight the virus, “Trump said at the White House. “We hadn’t had that in mind at all, but we’re going to let him do it.
“New Jersey will use it as well because New Jersey is also a hot spot,” he added. “It’s a big ship and it’s now COVID, it’s set to COVID and hopefully we will be of great help to both states.”
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At the same time, a New York doctor told Fox News about the difficulty of moving patients from crowded hospitals to Comfort.
“I have tried unsuccessfully to transfer some patients to Comfort,” the doctor told Fox News.
“It takes a lot to get through the bureaucracy. NYC hospitals have little will to talk to Navy command chains to get evaluated patients. But I think things are leveled.
“Comfort must assume that everyone is infected. About 85% of our ERs are positive. “
The doctor did not want to be identified because he did not have the right to talk to the media.
On Monday, Prime Minister Cuomo announced that the number of daily coronavirus deaths in New York has now been “effectively flat for two days,” signaling that the pandemic may begin to ease its grip on America’s hardest-hit state.
Cuomo said Monday that his state reported 599 new deaths, up from 594 on Sunday but down from 630 on Saturday.
“While none of this is good news, the possible leveling of the curve is better than the increases we’ve seen,” Cuomo said.
The number of new hospital admissions – and new intensive care posts – has also hit its lowest point in more than two weeks. But Cuomo warns that things can still change and there is a “real danger of becoming too confident too quickly.”
“This is an enemy that we have underestimated from day one and we have paid the price dearly,” Cuomo said. “The numbers look like they’re turning, yes, it’s over” – no it’s not.
“And other places have made that mistake,” he continued, naming Hong Kong and South Korea.
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New York is currently struggling with more than 130,000 confirmed cases and 4,758 deaths.
Fox News’ Lucas Tomlinson and Greg Norman contributed to this report.