7 crew members aboard USNS Mercy hospital ship test positive for COVID-19

Seven medical treatment facility crew members aboard the hospital ship USNS Mercy have tested positive for COVID-19 and were among more than 100 personnel removed from the ship in an attempt to prevent a full-blown outbreak, Navy officials said Wednesday.

Those removed from the ship were taken to an undisclosed base in Los Angeles, the Navy said, adding that all crew members who were in close contact with the infected sailors have since tested negative.

Get breaking news alerts in the FOX 11 News app. Download for iOS or Android.

It was unclear how or when the crewmembers became infected as all personnel were tested before the ship left port in San Diego on March 23, the Navy said. It arrived in Los Angeles on March 27.

RELATED:

• USNS Mercy hospital ship crewmember tests positive for COVID-19
• Two additional COVID-19 cases confirmed aboard USNS Mercy
• Four additional USNS Mercy Hospital crewmembers test positive for COVID-19

The removal of sailors and personnel will not disrupt treatment of patients onboard the ship, Lt. Joseph Pfaff told FOX 11.

"The ship is following protocols and taking every precaution to ensure the health and safety of all crewmembers and patients on board," Pfaff said.

The Mercy is treating 20 non-coronavirus patients, including one in intensive care, the Navy said.

RELATED: CoronavirusNOW.com, FOX launches national hub for COVID-19 news and updates. 

CNS contributed to this report.