Military Sealift Command hospital ship Comfort is deploying to New York City to assist in coronavirus relief. New York State, along with the states of Washington and California, are among the regions that are being hit hardest by the current COVID-19 pandemic.
As of Wednesday, 3/18, 2,382 people have tested positive for COVID-19 in New York State.
The Comfort, a T-AH-19 class vessel with a 1,000-bed capacity, is manned by military medical personnel, and has recently helped with disaster relief efforts in Puerto Rico and Venezuela.
According to USNI news, “the idea was for the ships to provide relief for coastal hospital systems, with the ships taking on non-COVID-19 cases and allowing the hospitals to focus on the most critical patients suffering from the virus. The Pentagon also has extensive equipment for erecting field hospitals in addition to the hospital ships, but those facilities are optimized for trauma cases, with several beds close together, and not for infectious patients.”
Over the past several days, NY Governor Andrew Cuomo has lobbied hard for help from the U.S. military to help combat a critical lack of medical resources and personnel that will be needed as COVID-19 continues to spread in New York State.
It will take several days to prepare the ship, whose home port is Norfolk, Virginia, and move it to New York. A similarly equipped vessel, the Mercy, will be deployed to California.