The USNS Comfort returned to Naval Station Norfolk after supporting the US Department of Defense response efforts to New York and New Jersey during the coronavirus outbreak.

“Comfort spent 31 days at Pier 90 in New York City, providing relief to a healthcare system stressed by the surge of COVID-19 patients. The ship, which arrived in New York City March 30, was originally tasked with providing care to non-COVID patients, bringing the first aboard on April 1. It quickly became apparent that in order to be of help to the city, Comfort needed to treat all patients, regardless of their COVID status. On April 6, the ship began accepting COVID-positive patients following a thorough assessment of the existing design of the ship. Military Sealift Command civil service mariners physically separated the hospital from the rest of the ship by cordoning off doors and ladder wells on the main deck, reconfiguring the ship to admit and treat all patients.”

During the transit from New York City, all personnel involved in the mission aboard USNS Comfort will be tested for COVID-19, and will execute a 14-day restriction of movement (ROM) following completion of the mission, say the U.S. Navy in a news release.

“The purpose of the ROM is to separate personnel who may have been exposed to a communicable disease, but are not yet symptomatic, from personnel who have not been exposed. As part of this ROM they will be isolated by either remaining on the USNS Comfort, in their own homes, or in other lodging accommodations where their movement will be restricted to their immediate area.”

Personnel will also be tested for COVID-19 a second time at the end of their 14-day ROM period.

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In three weeks it treated 179 patients. It was deployed because the totally incompetent Governor of New York, Andrew Cuomo, botched New York’s handling of the crisis. Crucial were decisions to keep the subways running and Cuomo’s unconscionable decision to force nursing homes to admit COVID-positive patients thus exposing the most vulnerable to the virus resulting in an exceptionally high death toll among the most vulnerable segment of NY’s population.