The U.S. Navy’s hospital ship USNS Comfort (T-AH 20) is scheduled to depart New York City on April 30 after supporting the Department of Defense’s COVID-19 response efforts to New York and New Jersey residents during the coronavirus outbreak.
USNS Comfort has been at Pier 90 in New York City, providing relief to a healthcare system stressed by the surge of COVID-19 patients. She was working with Javits New York Medical Station, federal and state officials as an integrated system to relieve the medical systems for both New York City, as well as nearby New Jersey, in support of U.S. Northern Command’s Defense Support of Civil Authorities as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Even as USNS Comfort departs NYC, the ship and its embarked medical task force remain prepared for future tasking. The Navy, along with other U.S. Northern Command dedicated forces, remains engaged throughout the nation in support of the broader COVID-19 response”, said a NORTCOM statement.
USNS Comfort, which arrived in New York City on March 30, was originally tasked with providing care to non-COVID patients, bringing the first aboard on April 1. It quickly became apparent that in order to be of help to the city, USNS Comfort needed to treat all patients, regardless of their COVID status. On April 6, the USNS COMFORT began accepting COVID-positive patients following a thorough assessment of the existing design of the ship.
Comfort is a seagoing medical treatment facility that currently has more than 1,200 personnel embarked for the New York mission including Navy medical and support staff assembled from 22 commands, as well as over civil service mariners.
The Military Sealift Command civil service mariners physically separated the hospital from the rest of the ship by cordoning off doors and ladder wells on the main deck; reconfiguring the ship to admit and treat all patients.
USNS Comfort is scheduled to return to Naval Station Norfolk, Va. where the ship will return to a “Ready 5” status to remain ready for future tasking for COVID-19 operations in support of Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).