NEW YORK — Navy crews sped up the refitting of a hospital ship expected to arrive in New York Harbor on Monday.
The USNS Comfort is to set sail from Norfolk, Va., on Saturday on its mission to help the city’s hospitals, which are overwhelmed with coronavirus patients.
President Donald Trump announced Thursday that the Comfort, which has 1,000 beds, is heading to New York weeks earlier than anticipated.
The ship will not be used to treat people diagnosed with COVID-19. Instead, it will relieve the burden on city hospitals by taking in patients requiring surgeries and other critical care.
The Comfort recently returned from a deployment to Central and South America. Navy crews in Norfolk have worked since to prepare the vessel for New York.
“They did the maintenance quickly … . I think I’m going to go out and I’ll kiss it good-bye,” Trump said at a news conference.
It’s not yet clear exactly where the Comfort will dock in New York Harbor, or how patients will be transferred onto the massive ship.
Once the Comfort leaves Virginia, its crew will remain on board for the length of its deployment.
Another 1,000-bed hospital ship, the USNS Mercy, left San Diego for Los Angeles on Tuesday to help out that city’s hospitals during the pandemic.
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