Navy hospital ship USNS Comfort has total of 20 patients: report
The Navy hospital ship that was welcomed into New York City this week has a total of 20 patients as of Thursday as the city deals with thousands of patients infected with COVID-19, The New York Times reported.
The USNS Comfort, which has 1,000 beds and 1,200 staff, is only accepting patients without 49 medical conditions, including COVID-19, leaving the city hospitals to handle the influx of patients infected with the novel coronavirus.
With many New Yorkers inside under the state’s stay-at-home order, there are not many patients without COVID-19 to treat. There are fewer car crashes, gun shot wounds and construction accidents, the Times reported.
“It’s pretty ridiculous,” Michael Dowling, the head of Northwell Health, New York’s largest hospital system, told the Times. “If you’re not going to help us with the people we need help with, what’s the purpose?”
Ambulances are also required to take patients to a hospital for tests, including for COVID-19, before transferring them to the ship.
Meanwhile, hospitals are using every available space and becoming overwhelmed by the growing number of patients infected by the disease. New York City has counted more than 51,800 cases and 1,562 virus-related deaths.
The Defense Department directed the Times to President Trump’s statements about the Comfort at his daily briefing, where he only said it was not accepting COVID-19 patients.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) said late Thursday that Trump approved coronavirus patients going to the Javits Convention Center in Manhattan, which is also operated by the military. But there hasn’t been information about the Comfort taking COVID-19 patients.
Capt. Patrick Amersbach, the commanding officer of the medical personnel aboard the Comfort, said the ship could be reorganized to bring on coronavirus patients if he was ordered to do so, according to the Times.
USNS Mercy, which was sent to help Los Angeles, currently holds 15 patients, according to the newspaper.