New York, March 31 (IANS) The US Navy Ship (USNS) Comfort arrived in New York bringing 1,000 hospital beds to help relieve the city’s overwhelmed hospital system amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Both New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo and City Mayor Bill de Blasio went to greet the ship, which docked on Monday morning at Pier 90 in the West Side of Manhattan, reports Xinhua news agency.
“We all watch something absolutely extraordinary, absolutely inspiring as the USNS Comfort enter New York Harbor, coming here to save the lives of New Yorkers in our hour of need, ” de Blasio made the remarks after welcoming the ship.
The Comfort, one of two hospital ships with the Navy, is staffed by some 1,200 medical personnel.
It also contains 12 fully-equipped operating rooms, a medical laboratory, a pharmacy, an optometry lab, a CAT-scan, among other facilities.
It will start operating on Tuesday treating non-COVID-19 patients so as to free up beds in local hospitals which can be focused on fighting the pandemic by establishing more intensive care units, officials have said.
The most populous city in the country has been the hardest hit with over 36,000 cases reported by Monday afternoon, according to data compiled by the the Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at Johns Hopkins University.
“We realize at this moment that our nation has heard our plea for help here in New York City. And there could not be a better example of all of America pulling for New York City than the arrival of the USNS Comfort,” the Mayor added.
Governor Cuomo thanked the US Navy and the Army which is going to help staff the ship, and President Trump for mobilizing this effort in a short period of time.
He again called for unity of all Americans as “what you’re seeing in New York is going to spread across this country”.
“New Yorkers thank this nation for the help they’re giving New Yorkers today, and we will reciprocate the favor. And what we’re learning here, and the training that’s going on here, is going to benefit the places all across this nation in the coming weeks and the coming months,” he noted.
Monday also marked the opening of the field hospitals assembled by the Army in the Jacob K. Javits Center in Manhattan.
The Governor said the hospitals provide 2,500 beds which are also for treating non-COVID-19 patients.
“So, we are doing this ship – 1,000 beds; Javits – 2,500 beds. About 3,500 beds to relieve the stress that our hospital system is facing,” he added.
According to the latest update by the CSSE, the US has recorded 164,274 confirmed coronavirus cases, the highest in the world, with 3,040 deaths.