The changing mission of the USNS Comfort

Posted at 8:47 PM, Apr 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-16 20:47:00-04

NEW YORK CITY - We're getting new insight into the changing mission of the Norfolk-based USNS Comfort hospital ship, which is now in New York City.

The Comfort, now treating people infected with COVID-19, has seen more than 130 patients so far. Thirty of them are in intensive care, and 18 of the most critical patients on the ship are on ventilators.

Thursday morning, the commanding officer of medical personnel on board the hospital ship told a New York City radio station of the new procedures in place to keep his crew safe and healthy.

“We've actually been able to decompress the ship a bit by moving most of our clinicians, our providers, physicals, nurses and corpsmen to a hotel on shore, which helps with social distancing, decompressing the berthing areas and the areas where we eat. That's just one of those methods we put in place to help keep the COVID-19 virus from spreading across the ship,” said Capt. Patrick Amersbach.

He added that a small number of COVID-19 patients have recovered enough that they've already been discharged from the hospital ship to head home.

Click here for full coronavirus coverage.