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USNS Comfort reaches 175 patients; Luria pushes for hazard pay for military medical personnel

Captain Joseph O'Brien said the Comfort team finds their work to be "gratifying."

NEW YORK — On April 2, after four days in New York, just three patients had been treated aboard the Navy's hospital ship USNS Comfort.

The pace began to pick up when President Trump ordered that the USNS Comfort would treat COVID-19 patients.

They've now reached the 175-patient mark. About 120 of those patients have COVID-19. At least 115 of them have been discharged.

"We're running the largest ICU in DoD and certainly, the busiest," said   Captain Joseph O'Brien, commodore of Amphibious Squadron Six and Task Force New York City mission commander. 

Although It's unclear how long the Comfort will stay in New York, he says the short answer is: as long as it's needed.

"These people are getting quality care, A. And B: we are taking a load off the hospitals in town," he said. "So it's definitely  gratifying on multiple levels."

On another note, there is a new push in Congress to take care of military medical providers.

Virginia Second District Representative Elaine Luria has cosponsored the "Pandemic Hazard Pay Expansion Act," which would expand hazard pay to service members whose duties involve frequent exposure to COVID-19 during the public health emergency.

They'd get an additional $250 per month in pay.

Luria said in a statement, "Our military medical professionals are on the front lines of fighting the coronavirus pandemic and they deserve to be compensated fairly for their service."

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