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USNS Comfort shipping out of New York

The Norfolk-based Navy hospital ship treated 182 patients during its one month stay in the Big Apple.
Credit: U.S. Navy

NEW YORK — Exactly one month to the day after arriving in New York City, the USNS Comfort is shipping out and heading for home.

The 1,100-member crew was there to provide relief for New York area civilian hospital system. 

In their time tied up at Manhattan's Pier 90, the Comfort team treated 182 patients. More than 70 percent of them were COVID-positive, a change from the ship's original mission, which was to only treat non-COVID trauma cases.  

They quickly adapted.

"I'm very proud overall of the crew and what they accomplished," said the ship's commanding officer,  Capt. Patrick Amersbach. "One month... it seems much longer than that, which is OK. We feel like we've actually made an impact on the people we provided care for."

The New York City area has been especially hard hit by the coronavirus outbreak, with over 162,000 positive cases and more than 12,500 deaths so far.  Local hospitals have been swamped.

"The Comfort was able to offload some of these high-stress environments and take on patients, very sick patients as far as our Intensive Care Unit, and our COVID convalescent wards," said Cdr. Tod Morris, the Comfort's medical services director. " And the patients that were here were extraordinarily happy with the services they received."

The Comfort will return to what is called  "Ready 5" status in order to remain prepared for any future COVID-19 operations supporting the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

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