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WASHINGTON— About 450 Navy medical personnel are heading to Texas and Louisiana to assist with state efforts to combat the coronavirus outbreak, U.S. Northern Command announced Monday.

The sailors are from a medical unit out of Jacksonville, Fla., and are heading to the Dallas-Fort Worth area and New Orleans, said Air Force Maj. Mark Lazane, a spokesman for U.S. Northern Command. They have been put on “prepare to deploy” orders and are expected to leave in a few days, according to a NORTHCOM statement.

The personnel could move to other places as needed, Lazane said.

New Orleans has 1,350 confirmed cases of the coronavirus and 73 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University. Dallas has 488 confirmed cases and 10 deaths from the virus and Tarrant County, which includes Fort Worth, has 139 cases and one death.

On Monday, the Navy’s USNS Comfort hospital ship arrived in New York Harbor to help local hospitals overwhelmed by the worst coronavirus outbreak in the country. The Navy medical staff aboard will be caring for non-coronavirus patients who are referred to the ship by local hospitals. The other Navy hospital ship, the USNS Mercy, arrived in Los Angeles on Friday and has started to accept patients.

Kenney.Caitlin@stripes.com Twitter: @caitlinmkenney


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