Governor Cuomo also said on Wednesday that President Trump had agreed to dispatch a 1,000-bed hospital ship to New York Harbor as the state struggles to deal with a stark jump in coronavirus cases. The governor’s office later clarified was not expected to arrive in until April.
The ship, the U.S.N.S. Comfort, has previously been deployed to natural disaster zones, including to Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria in 2017.
“It has operating rooms,” Mr. Cuomo said. Drawing further on the U.S. military, Mr. Cuomo said he would meet with the Army Corps of Engineers on Wednesday as he seeks to rapidly add hospital beds.
Although Mr. Cuomo said the president had said he would dispatch the 894-foot ship “immediately,” Jonathan Hoffman, a Pentagon spokesman, told reporters at a news conference on Wednesday that the vessel was undergoing repairs in Norfolk, Va., and that it would be weeks before it sailed for New York.
USNS Comfort (T-AH-20) is the third United States Navy ship to bear the name Comfort, and the second Mercy-class hospital ship to join the U.S. Navy’s fleet. The USNS prefix identifies Comfort as a non-commissioned ship owned by the U.S. Navy and operationally crewed by civilians from the Military Sealift Command (MSC). A uniformed naval hospital staff and naval support staff is embarked when Comfort is deployed, said staffs consisting primarily of naval officers from the Navy’s Medical Corps, Dental Corps, Medical Service Corps, Nurse Corps and Chaplain Corps, and naval enlisted personnel from the Hospital Corpsman rating and various administrative and technical support ratings (e.g., Yeoman, Personnel Specialist, Information Systems Technician, Religious Program Specialist, etc.).
Displacement: 69,360 tons (70,470 t)
Length: 894 ft (272 m)
Beam: 105 ft 7 in (32.18 m)
Draft: 33 ft (10 m)
Propulsion: two boilers, two GE turbines, one shaft, 24,500 hp (18.3 MW)
Speed: 17.5 knots (20.1 mph; 32.4 km/h)
Complement: 63 civilian, 956 naval hospital staff, 258 naval support staff, up to 1,000 bed patients
Time to activate: 5 days
Aviation facilities: A flight deck that can handle military helicopters (CH-53D, CH-53E, MH-53E, Mi-17, UH 60)