CORONAVIRUS patients were mistakenly transferred to a hospital ship in New York City that was meant to remain "virus free", according to reports.
Multiple patients were accidentally transferred to the 1000-capacity USNS Comfort vessel from the Javits Center in New York on Friday, after the military said the ship would not accept New Yorkers suffering from COVID-19.
According to Fox News, an official on board said the number of infected patients brought on the ship was estimated to be “less than five".
The report claims officials confirmed the patients were transferred on Friday and initial screenings during the transfer did not indicate they were positive.
Strict protocol orders patients to be tested for coronavirus before being let on board the Comfort, which is supposed to treat trauma patients and remain 'virus free'.
The ship was sent to Manhattan to ease the strain on health centers in the city by caring for patients other than those diagnosed with the COVID-19.
But infected patients were only asked to filled out a questionnaire and had their temperature taken as part of an initial screening process.
The report states that patient swab tests came back hours later, before the infected were held in isolation overnight onboard the vessel.
By Friday the ship had a total of 21 patients on board, according to the Comfort's press officer, Lieutenant Commander Amelia Umayam.
By Saturday morning, all the coronavirus positive patients were taken back to the Javits Center – a 2,900-bed facility that was constructed in March by the National Guard and by the US Army Corps of Engineers in five days.
Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Hoffman said the vessel, located on Pier 90 in Manhattan's west side, currently had “a couple dozen” patients on board.
On official said: "We were prepared with a contingency plan in case we received patients that later tested positive. Immediately upon arrival the patients were isolated while awaiting the test results.'"
New York state currently has the highest number of coronavirus cases and deaths, currently at 113,704 cases and 3,565 deaths.
New York City has seen 60,000 people test positive while 1,867 have died as a result of contracting the virus.
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