USNS Comfort hospital ship to leave NYC, return home to Norfolk


NEW YORK (AP/WAVY) — President Donald Trump announced Tuesday evening during a nightly coronavirus task force press conference 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.

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

The Comfort has treated 179 patients and had 56 on board Tuesday.

It’s a sign that stresses on the hospital system are easing. Also, hospitals in parts of New York will be able to conduct outpatient elective surgeries again starting next week.

The governor also pledged to consider regional differences when re-opening the state’s outbreak-stalled economy.

The USNS Comfort arrived in New York Harbor in late March to help ease the strain on the area hospitals. The Comfort is working with Javits New York Medical Station, federal and state officials as an integrated system to relieve the medical systems in both New York and New Jersey.

It started treating COVID-19 patients earlier this month.

The crew also began treating New Jersey patients starting April 17 to help support the United States’ COVID-19 response, the U.S. Navy said in an update Monday.

This week, 10 On Your Side also spoke with an Isle of Wight native who has been working aboard the Comfort to treat patients.

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