USNS Comfort Leaves New York After Completing Its Medical Mission
The USNS Comfort, which was sent to New York City to be used as a hospital, left on Thursday, completing its medical mission.
The naval hospital ship was sent off with bagpipes and siren lights from the NYPD as a thanks for the nurses, doctors and other staff on the ship.
“When the Comfort came, when we asked it to come five weeks ago, we knew we were in desperate shape,” said FEMA Regional Administrator Von Essen. “It came and it made an unbelievable difference in the spirit and the efficiency of what we were trying to do to decompress what was happening in all the hospitals.”
The ship arrived on March 30 to alleviate the amount of COVID-19 patients across city hospitals –182 patients were treated on board the USNS Comfort. About 70% were admitted due to the coronavirus.
The ship left after New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) said it was no longer needed because, according to him, the number of people seeking treatment for the coronavirus in the city is declining
NYC Office of Emergency Management Commissioner Deanna Criswell, however, warns that New Yorkers should not let their guard down. “The Comfort leaving NYC is a sign that things are improving, but we can’t take our eyes off the ball yet,” she said.
Despite the ship leaving, there are still hundreds of military medical personnel across the city that will stay for another month.
“There’re 682 doctors, nurses, that are in NYC hospitals, that are U.S. military members, that are providing that service exactly where it is needed,” said U.S. Air Force General Terrence O’Shaughnessy. “Right now, it needs to be done in the hospitals. They have the capacity. They just don’t have the staff.”