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USNS Comfort discharges final patient ahead of departure from New York

USNS Comfort discharges final patient ahead of departure from New York
Officials announced Sunday that the final patient was discharged from the USNS Comfort as the ship prepares to depart from New York after it was deployed to assist the state with hospital overflow and treating COVID-19 patients. Photo by PO2 Zachary Hupp/U.S. Coast Guard/UPI | License Photo

April 26 (UPI) -- All patients on the USNS Comfort have been discharged after the ship was dispatched to the coast of New York amid the COVID-19 outbreak in the state, officials said Sunday.

Northwell Health representative Terry Lynham said that the final patient was discharged as the Navy ship treated 182 patients after being deployed to the state initially to handle hospital overflow and later designated to treat coronavirus patients.

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Lynam said the Javits Center, which was converted into a medical treatment center in the epicenter for the virus in the United States is still treating about 84 patients.

Last week, President Donald Trump announced that New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo agreed to allow the ship to depart from New York Harbor.

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The Comfort's crew will remain on the ship for several days to disinfect and clean the vessel in addition to stowing medical equipment and preparing the ship's engine before departing.

Upon returning to its home port at the U.S. Naval Station Norfolk in Virginia, the ship is expected to undergo maintenance and restock for its next mission.

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Also Sunday, Army Secretary Ryan D. McCarthy announced the Army would proceed with plans to hold the graduation ceremony for West Point's 2020 graduating class on June 13.

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"After careful consideration of the steps the Army can take to mitigate risk, I made the decision to proceed with the West Point graduation," said McCarthy. "We are fully committed to the health and safety of our Cadets and believe we can safely conduct the graduation ceremony and associated activities."

Prior to the decision, Trump announced last week that he would deliver the commencement address.

"I assume .. they've got it and I understand they'll have distancing. They'll have some big distance and so it'll be very different than it ever looked," said Trump.

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The Navy officially announced that the Blue Angels and the Air Force Thunderbirds will conduct flyovers in New York, New Jersey and Philadelphia on Tuesday.

Flyovers in Newark and New York City will begin at noon and last approximately 35 minutes followed by flyovers in Trenton at 1:45 that will last 10 minutes and flyovers in Philadelphia at 2 p.m. that will last 20 minutes.

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