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Cuomo, Trump Say USNS Comfort Is No Longer Needed In New York To Assist In Coronavirus Battle

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- After Gov. Andrew Cuomo and President Donald Trump met at the White House on Tuesday, it was determined the USNS Navy hospital ship Comfort is no longer needed in New York.

Trump announced the USNS Comfort will head back to base in Virginia after about three weeks moored in the Hudson River.

"We'll be bringing the ship back at the earliest time and we'll get it ready for its next mission," Trump said.

"We've kind of seen a leveling off," commanding officer Capt. Patrick Amersbach said. "We've treated over 170 patients, which includes very complicated COVID-positive patients as well as those COVID-negative."

Of those 170 patients, 100 have been discharged and 21 are currently still on ventilators, CBS2's Alice Gainer reports.

Infectious disease had never been treated on the ship before.


The Comfort came to New York with 1,000 beds available to treat non-COVID trauma patients only, but there weren't that many of them.

After a desperate plea from the governor, the mission changed to allow for COVID-19 treatment.

It was taken down to 500 beds. Those providing direct patient care were moved off the ship into hotels and disinfecting procedures were ramped up.

A total of five personnel tested positive.

CORONAVIRUS: NY Health Dept. | NY Call 1-(888)-364-3065 | NYC Health Dept. | NYC Call 311, Text COVID to 692692 | NJ Health Dept. | NJ Call 1-(800)-222-1222 or 211, Text NJCOVID to 898211 | CT Health Dept. | CT Call 211

After doing the math, Cuomo says he told the president the ship was no longer needed.

Air Force Gen. Terrence J. O'Shaughnessy, commander for U.S. North Command, was asked about the beds that weren't filled up at facilities like Comfort and the nearby Javits Center.

"We're not chasing numbers," he said. "What we did is we were able to meet the demand signal."

It's unclear when exactly the hospital ship will leave New York.

"We're gonna be here as long as we're needed. Whatever orders come down from a higher authority, we'll follow," Amersbach said.

A spokesman for U.S. Northern Command says it's working with FEMA to figure out next steps.

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