HAMPTON, Va - Navy hospital ship USNS Comfort is on the front lines of the pandemic.
One of the people on board is Hampton native and U.S. Navy Hospital Corpsman 1st Class Brittany Berkley. The Navy said she is a patient transport shift team leader on board the USNS Comfort.
News 3 previously told you that in America's hour of need, two Navy hospital ships have become beacons of hope during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The San Diego-based USNS Mercy and the Norfolk-based USNS Comfort were called upon to provide relief to overwhelmed healthcare systems in Los Angeles and New York City, respectively.
In the week leading up to the Comfort's March 28 departure attended by President Trump, Fleet Logistics Center Norfolk provided fuel, food, linens and medical supplies to the hospital ship.
A total of 286 pallets of food valued at nearly $700,000 were loaded onto the Comfort.
Medical supplies and teams ready to help arrived in New York City.
Berkley was part of that team.
“I’m a nurturer by nature, so being able to put that into practice and help people and save lives and change lives - it’s an awesome opportunity for us,” said Berkley.
The Navy provided video to News 3.
Both hospital ships are helping take the pressure off cities feeling the impact of COVID-19.
“Recently, we switched from taking COVID-negative patients to taking patients regardless of their COVID status and we’ve seen an increase in bed usage because of that,” said Capt. Joseph O’Brien, the mission commander for Task Force New York City aboard the Military Sealift Command hospital ship USNS Comfort.
Berkley said different patients have responded differently upon arrival to the Comfort. She said some are excited to be part of the process while others are a little apprehensive and nervous. She said medical teams are wearing yellow gowns and masks and that the experience for patients is understandably overwhelming.
She said she tries to comfort them and said a smile can go a long way.