NY Governor Cuomo said the USNS Comfort isn't being used for coronavirus patients because "too hard to disinfect."
The Navy ship, deployed to NYC as an overflow valve for the City's overwhelmed hospitals, is currently treating just 20 non-COVID-19 patients, reports say.
"The Navy's position is they don't want to put COVID people on the ship because it would be too hard to disinfect the ship afterwards," Cuomo said at a press briefing Friday.
"That's my rough interpretation of what they're saying. I know they're not taking COVID-positive patients. But they said that from day one, in fairness.
"Now, I don't know the science of ship disinfecting to know whether or not they're being overly dramatic, so I take their word for it."
The New York Times reported that the lauded vessel with 1,000 hospital beds was only treating 20 people this week.
But there are strict requirements for patients on board the USNS, including a visit to a traditional hospital.
They must be diagnosed, had a coronavirus test and submit an application before treatment beings.
On Friday, the Department of Defense told CNN it would begin to streamline this complex process.
"Screening for care on the USNS Comfort will be modified and will now occur pier-side in an effort to reduce the backlog at some of the nearby New York hospitals," the Pentagon said.
"The screening effort for the USNS Comfort will no longer require a negative test (for coronavirus), but each patient will still be screened by temperature and a short questionnaire."
A Navy official told the publication it's not possible to bring people with compromised immune systems onboard because it's open bay and there's nowhere to isolate them.
But Cuomo conceded President Trump allowed the state to use the Jacob Javits Convention Center to treat patients who had contracted the killer bug, which has infected 102,863 New Yorkers.
"That adds 2,500 beds," Cuomo said. "That is a very big deal and I thank the President for doing it. He did it despite the fact the federal agencies weren’t eager to do it."
The US Army Corps of Engineers are converting over 300 sites like the convention center into makeshift hospitals around the country.
Today, the Trump administration confirmed the Morial FMS in New Orleans, Louisiana, and the Kay Bailey Hutchinson FMS in Dallas, Texas would also be adjusted to treat people battling coronavirus.
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