Monday, March 30, 2020
West Side – Pier 90 – New York City
By: Mike Leventhal APB Staff Reporter
The Military Sealift Command hospital ship USNS Comfort arrived in New York this morning in support of the nation’s COVID-19 response efforts.
While in New York, the ship will serve as an overflow hospital for non-COVID-19 patients currently admitted to City 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 in private and public City hospitals and to allow the hospitals to turn into complete Intensive Care Units and with ventilators for patients in need.
Comfort is a seagoing medical treatment facility that currently has more than 1,200 personnel assigned to the New York mission including Navy medical and support staff assembled from 22 commands, as well as over 70 civil service mariners.
“The USNS Comfort arrives in New York City this morning with more than 1,100 medical personnel who are ready to provide safe, high-quality health care to non-COVID patients,” said Capt. Patrick Amersbach, commanding officer of the USNS Comfort Military Treatment Facility. “We are ready and grateful to serve the needs of our nation.”
Comfort’s primary mission 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. Comfort’s secondary mission is to provide full hospital services to support U.S. disaster relief and humanitarian operations worldwide.
“Like her sister ship, USNS Mercy (T-AH 19), which recently moored in Los Angeles, this great ship will support civil authorities by increasing medical capacity and collaboration for medical assistance,” said Rear Adm. John Mustin, vice commander, U.S. Fleet Forces Command said at the press conference welcoming the ship into Pier 90 on the west side. . “Not treating COVID-19 patients, but by acting as a relief valve for other urgent needs, freeing New York’s hospitals and medical professionals to focus on the pandemic.”
The ship expects to begin receiving patients starting on Tuesday with all patients transferred coordinated with local hospitals, ensuring a consistent handoff of care between medical providers. Patients will not be accepted on a walk-on basis, and should not come to the pier with any expectation that they can receive care.
“The last time that this great hospital ship was here was in the wake of 9-11, where she served as respite and comfort for our first responders working around the clock,” said Mustin. “Our message to New Yorkers – now your Navy has returned, and we are with you, committed in this fight.” The Navy says there is no charge to any patient and no one will be asked for their insurance card upon entry.