USNS Comfort treats first patients in New York


The Navy hospital ship USNS Comfort passes lower Manhattan on its way to docking in New York, Monday, March 30, 2020. The ship has 1,000 beds and 12 operating rooms that could be up and running within 24 hours of its arrival on Monday morning. It’s expected to bolster a besieged health care system by treating non-coronavirus patients while hospitals treat people with COVID-19. AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

NEW YORK (WAVY) – The Norfolk-based U.S. Navy USNS Comfort hospital ship treated its first patients on April 1 in support of the nation’s COVID-19 response efforts.

The ship with 1,000 beds on board, arrived Monday morning in New York Harbor to treat non-coronavirus patients.

Officials say patients treated on Comfort are assessed upon need on a case-by-case basis and once identified, they are screened prior to transfer.

Local health officials along with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, have established patient transfer protocols, with careful consideration of the safety and security of patients and medical care providers aboard, according to a press release by the U.S. 2nd Fleet.

Both civilian physicians and USNS Comfort physicians will continue to work directly in concert, to provide and carry out patient care plans.

The facility currently has more than 1,100 personnel on board, including Navy medical and support staff assembled from 22 commands, as well as over 70 civil service mariners.

“I’m immensely proud of our sailors, marines, civilian mariners and medical staff for safely, efficiently and effectively getting Comfort to New York ahead of schedule when our fellow Americans need us most,” said Capt. Joseph O’Brien, mission commander, Task Force New York.

The mission of the USNS Comfort is to provide an afloat, mobile, acute surgical medical facility to the U.S. military that is flexible, capable, and uniquely adaptable to support expeditionary warfare.

The U.S. 2nd Fleet says Comfort’s secondary mission is to provide full hospital services to support U.S. disaster relief and humanitarian operations worldwide.

For full coverage of USNS Comfort and USNS Mercy’s response efforts click here.

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