USNS Comfort offloads remaining patients before returning to homeport Norfolk

Military

NEW YORK (AP/NBC/WAVY) — The U.S. Navy confirmed Tuesday that the USNS Comfort is leaving New York this week for its return home to Norfolk.

LT Marycate Walsh with the U.S. 2nd Fleet told WAVY News 10 the Comfort will depart on Thursday, April 30, exactly one month after its arrival.

The USNS Comfort discharged its remaining patients Sunday afternoon.

The ship has been docked in New York at Pier 90 since March 30 and has been treating patients in an effort to support the local hospitals during the coronavirus pandemic.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the Navy hospital ship deployed to New York City to help fight the outbreak and is no longer needed.

President Donald Trump announced during his April 21 coronavirus task force briefing that the Norfolk-based USNS Comfort would soon head back to Virginia.

Trump said the Comfort will come back to prepare for its next mission, but did not specify when — only that he had New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s permission.

“I asked Andrew if we could bring Comfort back to its base in Virginia, so we could have it for other locations, and he said we would be able to do that,” Trump said.

Additionally, New York is starting a new program to test health care workers for coronavirus antibodies and will do the same next week with transit and law enforcement workers as the state eases away from the worst days of the pandemic.

Cuomo said that doctors, nurses, and other employees who have handled high volumes of patients at four New York City hospitals will be the first tested in the program.

That type of testing on a larger scale is essential to reopening society however, the World Health Organization released a statement on April 24 that said there is currently no evidence that people who have antibodies are protected from coronavirus.

RELATED: Isle of Wight native saving lives aboard USNS Comfort


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