USNS Comfort, the Navy hospital ship that docked in New York Harbor earlier this month to provide relief to hospitals overrun by an influx of Chinese coronavirus patients, is ready to return to its Virginia home port.
The ship, equipped with 1,000 beds, 12 operating rooms, and 1,200 personnel, never came close to reaching its capacity during its assignment, as Breitbart News reported.
The vessel was docked at Pier 90 on the west side of Manhattan for three weeks after it was given a rousing initial send off by U.S. President Donald Trump.
White House / YouTube
According to NBC New York, the Comfort had treated 179 patients as of Tuesday, with 56 still on board at the time. The New York City health system has handled about 36,000 coronavirus hospitalizations since the start of the outbreak.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo offered to have the ship deployed to another hard-hit area during a Tuesday meeting with the president.
“It was very good to have in case we had overflow, but I said we don’t really need the Comfort anymore,” Cuomo told MSNBC after the meeting. “It did give us comfort, but we don’t need it anymore, so if they need to deploy that somewhere else, they should take it.”
Trump agreed, saying Comfort would depart and prepare for its next mission, which has not been decided yet.
“I’ve asked Andrew [Cuomo] if we could bring the Comfort back to its [sic] base in Virginia so that we could have it for other locations, and he said we would be able to do that,” he said. “We’ll be bringing the ship back at the earliest time, and we’ll get it ready for its next mission, which I’m sure will be an important one also.”
When originally despatched, Trump described the ship as a “70,000-ton message of hope and solidarity” to the people of New York that was “stocked to the brim” with medical equipment.
“We’re here for you, we’re fighting for you, and we are with you all the way, and always will be,” Trump said. “You have the unwavering support of the entire nation.”
White House / YouTube
The USNS Comfort has 1,000 medical beds, 12 fully equipped operating rooms, and up to 1,200 doctors, nurses, and medical specialists when at full capacity.
The Pentagon has redeployed some of Comfort’s medical personnel to shoreside NYC hospitals, where they have provided relief for civilian medical staff.