The USNS Comfort began admitting patients from New Jersey.
Sailors prepare to transport a patient arriving for medical treatment from an ambulance onto the Military Sealift Command hospital ship USNS Comfort (T-AH 20).
(Photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Sara Eshleman)

The hospital ship USNS Comfort began admitting patients from New Jersey hospitals recently. The Comfort remains at port in New York, assisting the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic that currently grips NYC. Now New Jersey state hospitals are coordinating with the Comfort, transferring patients across state lines and aboard the ship for care.

USNS Comfort Admitting New Jersey Patients

“Every one of those that we pull from the community or from the city hospitals is one more open bed for New Jersey hospitals to refill,” said Capt. Patrick Amersbach, commanding officer of the medical treatment facility aboard Comfort. “I’m very proud of the crew, our medical providers, nurses, support staff that are providing outstanding care to the people of New York City and New Jersey. We look at it as one patient at a time.”

The Navy response to COVID-19 received much criticism of late. Early on, the Comfort and its sister ship, the Mercy, failed to take on many patients. Then the USS Theodore Roosevelt returned to port in Guam due to an outbreak onboard. The ship’s captain’s plea for help went viral, leading to his dismissal. Then public outcry led to the dismissal of acting Secretary Thomas Modly as well. A Roosevelt sailor died from COVID-19 shortly thereafter.

But steadily, the Navy altered procedures and began admitting more patients. Then we reported how Marines sprang into action to save the lives of several patients waiting to board the Comfort in New York. Now the ship takes on more patients, hopefully providing some relief to America’s ground zero of the coronavirus.

Like our first responders and medical workers, the U.S. Navy serves on the front lines fighting the spread of COVID-19. Though mistakes have been made, the Navy continues to support New York and Los Angeles with hospital ships. Let’s hope they can continue to make a difference.

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