By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Scott Bigley, USNS Comfort (T-AH 20) Public Affairs
The supplies included powered, air-purifying respirators that are vital to protecting the Comfort health care team who are treating COVID-19 cases, as well as other patients aboard the ship.
“It provides an extra level of protection for our health care team that are at the highest risk for exposure to contagions,” said Cmdr. Todd Morris, director of the department for medical services. “It is a full face mask device that provides complete respiratory isolation from the surrounding environment, with a tube connected to a filtration system that is worn on the belt.”
The acquisition of these protective devices is another way that Comfort is ensuring mission capabilities, while also protecting its patients and crew. The supplies were delivered by an MH-60S Seahawk, assigned to the “Nightdippers” of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron FIVE (HSC- 5) stationed onboard Naval Station Norfolk.
“The safety of patients and crew aboard Comfort is our highest priority,” said Capt. Joseph O’Brien, mission commander, Task Force New York City. “We use full personal protection equipment precautions in accordance with CDC recommendations. We are receiving these items now due to the shift in patient acceptance and to ensure we maintain safety of all aboard Comfort.”
Comfort cares for trauma, emergency and urgent care patients without regard for their COVID-19 status. Comfort is working with the Javits New York Medical Station as an integrated system to relieve New York City hospitals in support of the U.S. Northern Command’s Defense Support of Civil Authorities in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.