Sailors practice patient transfer from the pier onto the hospital ship USNS Comfort (T-AH 20) as they prepare to admit patients in support of the nation's COVID-19 response efforts.Sailors practice patient transfer from the pier onto the hospital ship USNS Comfort (T-AH 20) as they prepare to admit patients in support of the nation's COVID-19 response efforts.Hospital Corpsman 1st Class Jennifer Rand calibrates a ventilator aboard the hospital ship USNS ComfortHospital Corpsman 1st Class Jennifer Rand calibrates a ventilator aboard the hospital ship USNS Comfortospital Corpsman 3rd Class Devin Kren takes a patient's vitals during a patient transfer drill aboard the Military Sealift Command hospital ship USNS ComfortSailors practice patient transfer aboard the hospital ship USNS Comfort (T-AH 20) as they prepare to admit patientsHospitalman Thomas King dons a surgical mask during patient transport drills aboard hospital ship USNS ComfortSailors practice admitting a patient aboard the Military Sealift Command hospital ship USNS Comfort (T-AH 20) during a transport drillVictor Deveso, a civil service mariner, stands as mate of the watch while Quartermaster 2nd Class Rodney Starkes steers the hospital ship USNS ComfortCivil service mariners guide the Military Sealift Command hospital ship USNS Comfort (T-AH 20) through the Hudson RiverMegan Maron, navigation officer aboard the hospital ship USNS Comfort (T-AH 20), charts a course through the Hudson River ChannelHospital Corpsman 3rd Class Jizel Orozco mops a deck aboard the hospital ship USNS Comforthe hospital ship USNS Comfort (T-AH 20) transits the Hudson River as the ship arrives in New York City in support of the nation's COVID-19 response efforts.The hospital ship USNS Comfort (T-AH 20) transits the Hudson River as the ship arrives in New York CityU.S. Public Health Services Capt. Robin Lewis establishes patient transport protocol on the pier adjacent to where the hospital ship USNS Comfort (T-AH 20) is moored

On Monday, the USNS Comfort arrived to New York City and docked at Pier 90. The U.S. Navy ship is here to treat patients from New York hospitals who do not have coronavirus, but need other care. We documented the ship’s arrival but the Navy has also released video and photographs of what the ship looks like inside, as the crew train and prepare for the first patients to arrive.

According to the Navy, the Comfort serves as a referral hospital for non-COVID-19 patients that are currently in the city’s hospitals, allowing “shore-based hospitals to focus their efforts on COVID-19 cases.” The imagery shared on board show some of the treatment areas, the pharmacy, and the bridge of the ship. There are photos of the staff training for patient transport and transfer, calibrating equipment, as well as photos of the staff training on how to use personal protective equipment.

Sailors practice patient transfer from the pier onto the hospital ship USNS Comfort (T-AH 20) as they prepare to admit patients in support of the nation's COVID-19 response efforts. Sailors practice patient transfer from the pier onto the hospital ship USNS Comfort (T-AH 20) as they prepare to admit patients. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Sara Eshleman.

Patients that are admitted on board the ship will be screened for coronavirus symptoms before being admitted. The USNS Comfort hospital ship is operated by Military Sealift Command and is here on authorization of the Department of Defense’s Defense Support of Civil Authorities mission. As the U.S. Navy states, the “DoD is supporting the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the lead federal agency, as well as state, local and public health authorities in helping protect the health and safety of the American people.” On board are Navy sailors, military and civilian doctors, civil service mariners, and more.

The hospital ship USNS Comfort (T-AH 20) transits the Hudson River as the ship arrives in New York CityU.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Sara Eshleman.

The current USNS Comfort was built in 1976 originally as an oil tanker for the National Steel and Shipbuilding Company, named the SS Rose City. In 1987, it became part of the U.S. Navy as a hospital ship. Beyond the hospital beds and surgery rooms, the USNS Comfort has a lot of different departments including an intensive care unit, laboratory, radiology, a medical pharmacy, morgue, optometry, physical therapy, dental services, oxygen producing plants, and four seawater distillation plants that can turn seawater into drinking water.

Sailors practice admitting a patient aboard the Military Sealift Command hospital ship USNS Comfort (T-AH 20) during a transport drillSailors practice admitting a patient. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Sara Eshleman.

USNS Comfort arrives in New York

Historically, the use of floating hospitals has precedent. Bellevue Hospital used floating wards in the effort to control tuberculosis in New York City. The USNS Comfort is also no stranger to New York City. After 9/11, it was docked and in action at Pier 92 in Manhattan. The ship has also served in the Persian Gulf War, the Iraq War, for Hurricane Katrina, for the earthquake in Haiti in 2010, Hurricane Maria in 2017, and more.

All photos from the U.S. Navy by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Sara Eshleman/Released