On March 30, the Navy ship turned medical facility, Comfort, docked in Manhattan to help medical professionals overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients.
The Comfort was designed to take in patients that were suffering from non-COVID-related incidents, but was quickly turned into an additional treatment facility for COVID patients, as the need for non-COVID treatments decreased. However, within the last few weeks, the way in which doctors are being distributed needs to be shifted. The need for medical professionals in city hospitals has overcome the need for the physicians needed to tend to the Comfort. This is why Defense Secretary, Mark Esper, announced on April 14 that they will be transferring some of the medical professionals of the Comfort into hospitals treating COVID-19.
Although it is currently unclear how many of the medical personnel will be making the switch from ship to city hospital, we can estimate that the aide will come in significant numbers. Esper announced that at least 300 of those serving on the Comfort will be transferring to city hospitals. However, given that there are currently 1,100 medical professionals aboard the ship, with additional Army recruits on the way, it is possible that the number of physicians being transferred will increase.
In addition to redistributing the need for medical professionals, fifteen urban augmentation medical task forces were deployed nationwide to aid in the medical assistance needed to fight the virus. Four of these forces, in total carrying 340 medical recruits, will be sent to aid the state of New York.
As for the reception of military personnel coming to the aide of New York, Air Force Colonel Jennifer Ratliff says that their presence has been well received.
“You can walk around the hospital and just see that the attendings and the residents are really happy to have us,” Ratliff reported.