New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Wednesday that President Donald Trump has agreed to send a Navy hospital ship to New York Harbor to help relieve local medical centers dealing with an influx of patients amid the coronavirus pandemic.
“It’s an extraordinary step, obviously,” he said. “It’s literally a floating hospital that will add capacity, and the president said he will dispatch it immediately.”
The ship is not set to arrive in New York until mid-April, Cuomo’s office said in a press release issued later in the day.
The current rate of coronavirus cases in New York suggests that 110,000 beds may be needed in 45 days, according to Cuomo. As of this week, New York has roughly 53,000 hospital beds and 3,000 intensive care unit beds.
“That’s a projection, and projections can change,” he said. “But that’s the problem we’re dealing with.”
At a separate news conference, Trump confirmed USNS Comfort’s plans to travel to New York and said a second ship, USNS Mercy, is also preparing to deploy to a yet-to-be-determined location.
USNS Comfort is equipped with 1,000 beds as well as operating rooms. It was dispatched to Puerto Rico following Hurricane Maria’s devastation in 2017 and to the Gulf Coast following Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
The ship will not treat patients with COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, but will help other patients in need of medical care, according to a CBS reporter citing the Navy. A representative from the Navy did not immediately respond to HuffPost’s request for comment Wednesday.