U.S. Navy Hospital Ships to Deploy to NY, West Coast
“The United State naval ships Comfort and Mercy are being prepared for deployment to assist overwhelming – overwhelmed communities with acute patient care,” Rear Admiral Bruce Gillingham, Surgeon General of the Navy, said during a press conference. “Comfort and Mercy are medical treatment facilities. Their ships and their crew of medical professionals will help take some of the burden off of local hospitals so that they can focus on COVID-19 care.”
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo reportedly expects one of those ships to position within New York Harbor, just off New York City; that ship is the USNS Comfort, out of Virginia. Meanwhile, the Mercy, out of San Diego, will likely deploy to a major city on the West Coast.
With well over 5,500 confirmed cases at press time, New York leads the U.S. in COVID-19 infections. Officials there expect to need more than 50,000 new hospital beds, and 30,000 new intensive care units, according to npr.org. California now reports more than 1,000 confirmed cases. Worldwide, more 250,000 people now have the virus, which had caused more than 10,000 fatalities.
“We are preparing the ship for its thousand bed mission, which is the largest mission set that it’s designed for,” Gillingham said. “The — we are activating our usual call-out of individual professionals, but as I said in the opening remarks, we’re a high-velocity organization. we believe in rapid-cycle feedback, and we will adjust that manning as the situation on the ground dictates.”
According to multiple reports, the ships currently undergo readiness preparations in their home ports. Mercy needs several days to deploy. Meanwhile, Comfort will likely take weeks before reaching full readiness capability, according to npr.org.