The U.S. Navy hospital ship USNS Comfort (T-AH 20) departed Naval Station Norfolk in Virginia for New York City on March 28 to support the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) response efforts.
President Donald J. Trump and Defense Secretary Dr. Mark T. Esper were present at Naval Station Norfolk uring the ship’s departure.
“As we gathered today, our country is at war with an invisible enemy. We are marshaling the full power of the American nation, economic, scientific, medical and military to vanquish the virus,” Trump said. “This great ship behind me is a 70,000-ton message of hope and solidarity to the incredible people of New York.”
“We’re here for you, we’re fighting for you, and we’re with you all the way,” Trump added.
#LIVENOW: President Donald J. Trump & Defense Secretary Dr. Mark T. Esper speak to reporters in Norfolk, Va., before the #USNavy hospital ship #USNSComfort leaves to support the nation’s #COVID19 response efforts in New York City. https://t.co/TFpr7VZDdH
— U.S. Navy (@USNavy) March 28, 2020
According to Trump, the ship is set to arrive at the Norwegian Cruise Line terminal at Pier 90 in Manhattan on Monday and will begin seeing patients the next day.
Comfort will serve as a referral hospital for non-COVID-19 patients currently admitted to shore-based hospitals and will provide a full spectrum of medical care to include general surgeries, critical care and ward care for adults. This will allow local health professionals to focus on treating COVID-19 patients and for shore-based hospitals to use their Intensive Care Units (ICUs) and ventilators for those patients.
The Navy’s other hospital ship USNS Mercy (T-AH 19) arrived in Los Angeles on March 27 to support the COVID-19 response efforts.
USNS Comfort (T-AH 20)
USNS Comfort is the second of two Mercy-class hospital ships operated by the U.S. Navy’s Military Sealift Command (MSC). She was delivered to the MSC on Dec. 1, 1987.
The USNS prefix identifies them as non-commissioned ships owned by the U.S. Navy and operationally crewed by civilians from the MSC.
The Mercy-class hospital ships are converted San Clemente-class supertankers originally built in the 1970s by the National Steel and Shipbuilding Company (NASSCO). They were acquired by the Navy and converted into hospital ships.
The ships are designed to provide emergency, on-site care for American combatant forces, and also for use in support of Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) operations. Each ship contains 12 fully equipped operating theaters, a 1,000-bed hospital facility, radiological services, medical laboratory, pharmacy, optometry labs, CAT scans, and two oxygen-producing plants.