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: 501652

Reported Deaths: 10024
CountyCasesDeaths
Harrison34353540
DeSoto32162408
Hinds31977631
Jackson24508383
Rankin22015390
Lee15596235
Madison14597280
Jones13867243
Forrest13461252
Lauderdale11998317
Lowndes11065188
Lamar10522136
Pearl River9547237
Lafayette8557140
Hancock7740127
Washington7443160
Oktibbeha7147133
Monroe6787178
Warren6706176
Pontotoc6677104
Neshoba6642206
Panola6542131
Marshall6476135
Bolivar6323150
Union605794
Pike5824152
Alcorn5676102
Lincoln5439135
George497479
Scott473098
Tippah470381
Prentiss469182
Leflore4663144
Itawamba4640105
Adams4592119
Tate4592111
Copiah448792
Simpson4448116
Yazoo444887
Wayne440072
Covington429094
Sunflower4240105
Marion4232108
Coahoma4168107
Leake408688
Newton381779
Grenada3711108
Stone360664
Tishomingo360092
Attala331789
Jasper330165
Winston314691
Clay308977
Chickasaw301067
Clarke292594
Calhoun279447
Holmes267987
Smith264150
Yalobusha234547
Tallahatchie228251
Greene219449
Walthall218764
Lawrence213140
Perry205956
Amite205256
Webster203046
Noxubee186840
Montgomery179657
Jefferson Davis172243
Carroll169338
Tunica160039
Benton149239
Kemper141941
Choctaw133326
Claiborne132837
Humphreys129638
Franklin120328
Quitman106528
Wilkinson105139
Jefferson94734
Sharkey64220
Issaquena1937
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 820312

Reported Deaths: 15407
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson1148731924
Mobile726221339
Madison52362697
Shelby37640350
Baldwin37266552
Tuscaloosa35120612
Montgomery34123740
Lee23540246
Calhoun22236488
Morgan20958378
Etowah19838500
Marshall18381304
Houston17394412
St. Clair16078339
Cullman15468293
Limestone15354199
Elmore15271286
Lauderdale14323295
Talladega13851283
DeKalb12664261
Walker11221370
Blount10207176
Autauga10048148
Jackson9877184
Coffee9211191
Dale8904185
Colbert8877201
Tallapoosa7093198
Escambia6778134
Covington6715183
Chilton6648162
Russell637559
Franklin5969105
Chambers5612142
Marion5010127
Dallas4979200
Pike4796106
Clarke475884
Geneva4575127
Winston4522103
Lawrence4327117
Bibb425386
Barbour357876
Marengo338390
Monroe331664
Randolph329864
Butler326796
Pickens316584
Henry312866
Hale311688
Cherokee302960
Fayette294180
Washington251651
Cleburne247760
Crenshaw245375
Clay243368
Macon234863
Lamar224847
Conecuh186353
Coosa180340
Lowndes175464
Wilcox168939
Bullock151744
Perry138940
Sumter133238
Greene126744
Choctaw88527
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