Coronavirus: 1,000-Bed Hospital Ship Has Just 20 Patients: Report
Posted On July 2, 2020
NEW YORK CITY — The 1,000-bed Navy hospital ship USNS Comfort and its 1,200-member crew were treating just 20 patients as of Thursday, according to a New York Times report.
“If I’m blunt about it, it’s a joke,” Michael Dowling, the head of Northwell Health, told the New York Times. “Everyone can say, ‘Thank you for putting up these wonderful places and opening up these cavernous halls.’ But we’re in a crisis here, we’re in a battlefield.”
The Comfort arrived Monday in New York City to relieve pressure on overtaxed hospitals as the new coronavirus continues its rapid spread through the city.
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“This ship arriving is not just an example of help arriving in a physical form,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said. “It’s about saying to our heroes in those hospitals that help has come. That relief is on the way.”
But the Times reports that strict rules — among them that ambulances cannot take patients directly to the ship — and the Navy’s refusal to treat roughly 50 medical conditions meant that as of Thursday morning, just three patients had been moved on board.
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“We’re bringing them on as fast as we can bring them on,” Elizabeth Baker, a spokeswoman for the Navy, told the Times.
Gov. Cuomo, addressing the situation at a press conference Friday morning, said the Navy did not want to treat COVID-19 patients because it was ill-equipped to disinfect the facility, designed to treat soldiers.