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Pentagon prepares to send ship to Seattle

The Pentagon is preparing to send a US Navy hospital ship to Seattle and deploy two Army hospital units to separate locations in an effort to assist the US medical response to the novel coronavirus.

The US Navy hospital ship is expected to head to the Seattle area in the next five to 10 days, according to a US defense official. The two active duty Army mobile hospital units, meanwhile, have received "prepare to deploy" orders for to-be-determined locations, according to Army Chief of Staff General James McConville, the Army Chief of Staff.

The USNS Mercy is one of two ships being deployed to help respond to the Coronavirus outbreak, though neither will treat patients suffering from the virus. The ships will be used to treat other illnesses or injuries and free up capacity in civilian hospitals that are expected to be overwhelmed with cases of the virus.
"That is the expectation" the official said. The final destination could always change depending on civilian needs, the official cautioned.

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