USNS Comfort to be saluted by FDNY, NYPD as it departs from NYC
The US Navy hospital ship sent to the Big Apple to assist during the coronavirus pandemic will be saluted Thursday by New York’s Bravest and Finest as it leaves town.
The USNS Comfort, which has treated 182 people since it docked off Manhattan’s Pier 90 on March 30, will be honored by an array of NYPD and FDNY vehicles and boats as it departs for its homeport in Virginia at about noon, sources told NBC New York.
The 1,000-bed vessel, which discharged its last patient on Sunday, will return to Norfolk to be restocked and prepped for another possible assignment, Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Hoffman told the station.
The ship’s departure is a “sure sign of modest progress in mitigating the virus in the nation’s hardest-hit city and is a welcome sign,” Hoffman said.
All of the patients who were treated on the ship have been sent home or transferred to another hospital, Navy spokesperson Mary Cate Walsh told the outlet.
The ship was originally sent to New York to care for patients without COVID-19, but began accepting people with the virus on April 6.
“Even as USNS Comfort departs NYC, the ship and its embarked medical task force remain prepared for future tasking,” the Navy said in a statement. “The Navy, along with other U.S. Northern Command dedicated forces, remains engaged throughout the nation in support of the broader COVID-19 response.”
The ship will return to a “Ready 5” status for future tasking in COVID-19 operations with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Navy officials said.
Civilian mariners staff the vessel and the majority of its medical workers are from the Naval Medical Center in Portsmouth, the Virginian-Pilot reports.
Navy officials did not respond to questions on where the ship may be headed next, the newspaper reports.
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