Norfolk-based USNS Comfort hospital ship will go to New York for aid

Posted at 12:29 PM, Mar 18, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-23 12:05:30-04

NORFOLK, Va. - The Norfolk-based hospital ship, the USNS Comfort will be sent New York to help with coronavirus pandemic response.

The ship's staff will not treat patients with coronavirus, but help with other patient's health needs.

President Trump made the announcement during a briefing Wednesday afternoon.

There are two Navy hospital ships run by Military Sealift Command. The USNS Comfort is based in Norfolk, while sister ship USNS Mercy is based in San Diego.

Medical capabilities aboard the hospital ships include surgical and post-surgical rooms, a CAT-scan unit, X-ray machines, a dental suite, an optometry lab, a physical therapy area and two oxygen-producing plants.

Military Sealift Command tells News 3 details about the Comfort being sent to New York are still being finalized. The USNS Mercy is heading to the Los Angeles area.

During a Pentagon briefing Wednesday afternoon, the Defense Department says maintenance work on the Comfort must be finished before the hospital ship can head to New York.

"On timing wise, that is a little more difficult. So as everyone knows, as we’ve talked about the last few days, the Comfort is currently in for maintenance In Norfolk. So they’re going to expedite the maintenance that they can and prepare it. That is not a days issue, that’s a weeks issue, so it’s going to be a little while," Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Hoffman told reporters.

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