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The USNS Comfort, a Navy ship docked in a New York harbor, will begin admitting patients from Pennsylvania who are a one-hour commute away, U.S. Northern Command announced Thursday.
The arm of the Pentagon leading the coronavirus operations in the U.S. said the decision to do so is “in anticipation of medical support needed in the greater Philadelphia area.”
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Philadelphia has been the hardest hit city in Pennsylvania, with more than 1,500 cases of COVID-19, bringing the state’s total to 8,045 cases.
The number of confirmed cases in the city is up by over 600 cases in 24 hours, with 264 people dead.
State Health Secretary Rachel Levine said Pennsylvania’s testing capabilities are insufficient, and the number of tests conducted has declined in recent days.
As the number of hospitalizations continues to increase, some medical facilities are forced to transfer patients to a different hospital with greater bed capacity, and the Navy ship — with a 1,000 bed-capacity that already houses patients from New York and New Jersey — is just another option.
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Philadelphia Health Commissioner Thomas Farley said Thursday that 30 percent of hospital beds and 29 percent of ICU beds are still available in the city.
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