Navy hospital ship deployed to NYC with 1,000 bed capacity is only treating 20 patients

Air Force General Terrence O'Shaughnessy leads the fight against coronavirus. He says the military is

Posted: Apr 3, 2020 9:24 AM
Updated: Apr 3, 2020 11:00 AM


A US Navy hospital ship currently docked in New York City harbor is treating only 20 patients, despite having a 1,000 bed capacity to treat non-coronavirus patients, according to a Navy spokesperson.

Navy officials told CNN that they expect the number of patients being treated to increase significantly in the coming days as the process of referring patients to the ship is refined.

The USNS Comfort was deployed to New York City, the epicenter of the virus outbreak in the United States, to free up capacity in the city's civilian hospitals so that they can focus on treating coronavirus patients.

New York City's hospitals have been overwhelmed with coronavirus cases and are struggling to respond to patients constantly streaming in. A shortage of personal protective equipment has also placed medical workers at risk of contracting the virus. On Thursday, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that the temporary hospital facility at the Javits Convention Center, which holds 2,500 beds, will now treat Covid-19 patients.

Asked about the lack of patients being treated by the Comfort, New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio told CNN's John Berman on Friday, 'There's no question in my mind that will get resolved quickly. You'll see that number grow.'

'Having the Comfort here is a very, very important thing for New York City in terms of the number of patients served, but also an extraordinary morale boost when we needed it,' De Blasio said. 'I don't have a doubt in my mind, the Comfort will be filled up soon.'

Ambulances are not taking people directly to the ship, which docked in New York City on Monday. Patients are referred to the ship by shore-based hospitals and must be screened and tested for the virus before being admitted on board.

The Department of Defense said Friday that it would begin streamlining the process to admit patients onto the ship.

'Screening for care on the USNS Comfort will be modified and will now occur pier-side in an effort to reduce the backlog at some of the nearby New York hospitals,' the Pentagon said in a statement. 'The screening effort for the USNS Comfort will no longer require a negative test (for coronavirus), but each patient will still be screened by temperature and a short questionnaire.'

There are some patients that the Comfort can't bring on board, mainly those who are immunosuppressed due to the fact the ship is open bay and does not have the ability to isolate patients, according to a Navy official familiar with operations on the ship.

'We are conducting data analysis to see how we need to change our configuration -- bottom line we've been here 48 hours, and this is a scenario no one has ever seen before,' the official told CNN. 'No one wants to get this wrong. We hear the feedback from medical professionals, and are fine tuning,' but the Comfort will still only treat non-coronavirus patients.

On Thursday morning, the Comfort was treating 'three' patients, according to Capt. Patrick Amersbach, the ship's commanding officer. A US Navy spokesperson confirmed late Thursday that the number of patients on board the Comfort has now reached 20, which The New York Times first reported.

The Comfort has more than 1,100 personnel on board to treat patients. It also contains 12 fully equipped operating rooms, radiology services, a medical lab, pharmacy, optometry lab, a CAT-scan and two oxygen producing plants, according to the Navy.

Another Navy hospital ship, the USNS Mercy, deployed to Los Angeles, has treated 15 patients so far, five of whom have since been discharged, Capt. John Rotruck, the ship's medical facility commanding officer, said Thursday.

Rotruck said the Mercy was treating patients recovering from traumatic accidents, heart and lung problems, and gastrointestinal issues.

The Pentagon also announced Friday that the military will convert three temporary medical facilities in New York, New Orleans, and Dallas into facilities capable of treating patients with the virus.

'At the request of (Federal Emergency Management Agency), the Department of Defense will expand its medical support to include COVID-19 positive patients at the Javits Federal Medical Station (FMS) in New York City, the Morial FMS in New Orleans, Louisiana, and the Kay Bailey Hutchinson FMS in Dallas, Texas,' the Defense Department said in a statement.

'These three DoD-supported locations will now provide support to COVID-19 positive patients in convalescent care, as well as low-acuity patients. These patients, who require a lower level of medical care, must first be screened at a local hospital,' the statement added.

Originally all three facilities were intended to treat non-coronavirus patients in order to free up capacity at civilian hospitals.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 265146

Reported Deaths: 5777
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto17741191
Hinds16891332
Harrison14279204
Rankin11239220
Jackson10917190
Lee9071145
Madison8599169
Jones6731118
Forrest6208124
Lauderdale6121192
Lowndes5544120
Lafayette520598
Lamar505865
Washington4933125
Bolivar4126109
Oktibbeha408382
Panola386981
Pontotoc377460
Monroe3686110
Warren3685103
Marshall357170
Union356864
Pearl River3495106
Neshoba3490154
Leflore3118109
Lincoln306788
Hancock294262
Sunflower291975
Tate280662
Alcorn273154
Pike270181
Itawamba269363
Scott260048
Yazoo256756
Prentiss253754
Coahoma249755
Copiah249749
Tippah249750
Simpson242872
Leake238167
Marion224273
Grenada223972
Covington221073
Adams215171
Wayne213734
Winston207671
George204739
Newton199946
Attala197064
Tishomingo194961
Chickasaw189344
Jasper181138
Holmes172068
Clay166837
Tallahatchie157235
Stone152525
Clarke148162
Calhoun141322
Smith130026
Yalobusha123335
Walthall114537
Greene113729
Noxubee113026
Montgomery112036
Carroll106822
Lawrence106817
Perry105131
Amite102126
Webster96824
Tunica89021
Claiborne88825
Jefferson Davis88430
Benton85823
Humphreys84724
Kemper80920
Quitman7139
Franklin70617
Choctaw63713
Wilkinson59825
Jefferson56821
Sharkey45217
Issaquena1606
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 441170

Reported Deaths: 6660
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson646811007
Mobile31620572
Madison28310217
Tuscaloosa21525275
Montgomery19954332
Shelby19335132
Baldwin17256189
Lee13205107
Morgan12639142
Etowah12107181
Calhoun11521206
Marshall10471123
Houston9009164
Limestone834981
Cullman8274124
Elmore8214110
DeKalb7894107
Lauderdale7871107
St. Clair7854130
Talladega6481112
Walker6036183
Jackson601545
Colbert549994
Blount547386
Autauga537662
Coffee462464
Dale410785
Franklin374950
Russell357515
Chilton345473
Covington339680
Escambia335444
Tallapoosa3149109
Dallas313296
Chambers304270
Clarke300236
Pike262531
Lawrence254155
Marion253761
Winston233642
Bibb222348
Geneva211547
Marengo209331
Pickens199631
Hale185244
Barbour182738
Fayette178629
Butler174460
Cherokee165731
Henry159925
Monroe152421
Randolph146436
Washington142327
Clay130546
Crenshaw124045
Macon122337
Cleburne121825
Lamar120222
Lowndes115536
Wilcox107922
Bullock103528
Perry100018
Conecuh97922
Sumter90527
Greene77923
Coosa63618
Choctaw51924
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