The city of New York is preparing for the arrival of USNS Comfort, the hospital ship scheduled to come into port Monday.
New York is ready to welcome a “much needed” hospital ship, Chris Singleton, spokesperson for the New York City Economic Development Corporation, told USA TODAY on Saturday.
On Saturday, while speaking as a part of a send-off for the Comfort in Norfolk, Virginia, President Donald Trump called it “a 70,000-ton message of hope and solidarity.”
To ready the Manhattan Cruise Terminal’s Pier 90, which will become the ship’s temporary home, several city agencies have become involved.
The biggest step? Dredging the slip, or deepening the area in which the ship can come in.
“A number of city agencies, including New York City Economic Development Corporation and the Office of Emergency Management, have been dredging the berth at Manhattan Cruise Terminal’s Pier 90, where the USNS Comfort will dock, to ensure there is sufficient depth in the slip,” Singleton said.
The dredging has been conducted in coordination with the Army Corps of Engineers and will be complete this weekend.
The cruise terminal, which Singleton says receives around 180 ships yearly and often houses Norwegian Cruise Line and Carnival Cruise Line ships, is dredged periodically. So the operation isn’t that irregular, it just requires “a little extra dredging” in preparation for the Comfort.
Saturday, Trump sent off the USNS Comfort
Speaking from a pier at Naval Station Norfolk on Saturday, the president sent off the USNS Comfort.
“We’re here for you, we’re fighting for you, and we are with you all the way and we always will be,” Trump said to the people of New York.
Trump said the naval hospital ship has 12 operating rooms, 1,000 hospital beds, a pharmacy, an optometry lab, radiology, CAT-scan equipment, two oxygen-producing plants and a helicopter deck. “It’s stocked to the brim with equipment, medicines and everything you can think of,” he said.
Coronavrius patients won’t be treated on the ship, Trump said. Instead, it will be used to treat New Yorkers who don’t have the virus but still require urgent care.
“By serving these emergency patients away from the hospital, beds will be opened up all over the city for those who are infected,” Trump said.
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Contributing: Michael Collins