‘Answering the call’: USNS Comfort sets sail for New York with send-off from President Trump


NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — The USNS Comfort hospital ship is expected to set sail for New York Saturday with a send-off from President Trump.

“This great ship behind me is a 70,000 tons message of hope and solidarity to the incredible people of New York. A place I know very well. A place I love,” he said.

U.S. Navy Reserve sailors arrived Wednesday on board the USNS Comfort to assist with preparations and get the ship ready to head north to New York in response to coronavirus relief efforts.

More than 1,200 Navy Reserve sailors and volunteers boarded, including medical personnel and other essential ratings to support the mission. Once the ship arrives in New York, the Comfort will help relieve hospitals in the city during the pandemic.

“By serving these emergency patients away from the hospital, beds will be opened up all over the city for those who are infected. This ship can handle a lot of people so it will open capacity all over the city,” the president explained.

The President said he has extreme gratitude for the dedicated service members who are traveling to the front lines of the pandemic.

“We are here for you. We are fighting for you and we are with you all the way, and we always will be. You have the unwavering support of the entire nation, the entire government and the American people,” he said.

The Comfort is expected to arrive in New York at Pier 90 on Monday as the city currently holds about a third of the country’s more than 75,000 confirmed cases.

“These doctors, nurses, anesthesiologists, x-ray technicians, orderlies, and other medical staff will augment and support New York City’s medical community and conserve hospital capacity by treating some non-COVID-19 patients aboard the USNS COMFORT,” the White House released in a statement Thursday.

As of Saturday, the Virginia Department of Health confirmed a total of 739 cases in Virginia — meaning 135 cases have been identified since Friday.

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