USNS Comfort Not Accepting COVID-19 Patients While Docked in NYC
The USNS, a United States Navy hospital ship, was sent to New York City to help relieve hospitals that are overwhelmed with patients due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The New York Times reports that the USNS Comfort is a 1,000-bed hospital ship sent to New York City amidst the COVID-19 outbreak. Of those 1,000 beds, 20 are being used, as of Thursday, April 2, 2020. The ship arrived on Monday, March 30, 2020.
So why is the ship close to empty when the hospital system in New York City is overwhelmed and at capacity? Simply put, rules and restrictions. The New York Times reports that there are strict rules that prevent people who are infected with COVID-19 from coming on board. The ship is also refusing to treat a list of 49 other medical conditions. In addition to that, it's not as easy to enter the ship as it is to enter a hospital. Patients must first go to a New York City hospital where they will be tested for COVID-19 and evaluated. From there, an ambulance can pick them up again and bring them to the USNS Comfort.
The Javits Center was just approved by President Donald Trump to bring COVID-19 patients there. The New York Times reports that hospital officials in New York City are waiting for the same to happen with the USNS Comfort. Currently, Capt. Patrick Amersbach, the commanding officer of the medical personnel, believes that the ship would need to be reconfigured to serve COVID-19 patients.