Transcript

Department of Defense Press Briefing via Teleconference by Assistant to the Secretary of Defense Hoffman

April 7, 2020
Jonathan Rath Hoffman, Assistant To The Secretary Of Defense For Public Affairs; Navy Vice Admiral Andrew L. Lewis, Commander, U.S. 2nd Fleet And Joint Forces Command Norfolk; Army Major General William "Bill" A. Hall, Commander, Joint Task Force Civil Support; Army Major General Jeffrey L. Milhorn, Commander And Division Engineer For North Atlantic Division, U.S. Army Corps Of Engineers; Army Brigadier General Michel A. Natali, Dual-Status Commander For The State Of New York And Assistant Adjutant General For Joint Forces Headquarters; Colonel Kim Aiello

ASSISTANT TO THE SECRETARY OF DEFENSE JONATHAN RATH HOFFMAN:  -- Good afternoon now.  I'm -- for those of you who don't know me, I'm Jonathan Hoffman, the head of public affairs at the Department of Defense.

Recognizing the department's need to -- to do better of communicating with the people of New York about our efforts to support your COVID-19 response, we have a group on the line that can answer many of your questions about what DOD is doing in New York and in the surrounding communities.

With me today are the Department of Defense's top leadership on the ground in New York.

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MR. HOFFMAN:  Hey, somebody needs to mute.  They're getting feedback.

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MR. HOFFMAN:  Somebody needs to mute your phone, or if you're on a computer, you need to turn that volume down and find a way to -- to listen in a -- in a way that doesn't create feedback.

So with me today are the Department of Defense's top leadership on the ground in New York:  Vice Admiral Andrew Lewis, commander of the U.S. Navy 2nd Fleet, responsible for the USNS Comfort; Major General William "Bill" Hall, commander of Joint Task Force Civil Support, responsible for our ground forces; with him he has the leadership of the Med Group commander that is at the Javits Center; Major General Jeffrey Milhorn, commander and division engineer, North Atlantic Division of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers; and Brigadier General Michael A. Natali, dual status commander for the State of New York.

Let me start by saying clearly, the Department of Defense stands with New York and its strong front-line medical personnel who have been fighting the virus for months.  They're an inspiration for the millions of men and women at the DOD, and indeed all Americans.

The department has been confronting COVID since January, and the first cases reporting near our forward-deployed forces in Asia.  While we continue to work on protecting our personnel around the globe, we have shifted much of our efforts supporting state and locals in their fight, and that fight begins in New York.

The DOD capabilities we are providing are focused in four areas to support New York:  emergency sites, emergency supplies, emergency staff and emergency science.

With regard to the sites and the adding of hospital beds, as you know, our primary sites are -- in New York City include the Javits Center and the USNS Comfort.  Both, as Governor Cuomo described them yesterday, are relief valves for the city's hospital system.  At this time, both are open to COVID-positive patients.  To that end, they are both online and receiving patients.

From reporting this morning, they have a combined 110 patients, 44 at the Comfort and 66 at Javits.  We expect to increase the number of patients rapidly in the next few days, and as the governor has described, we can -- we will be looking to reach a capacity of 500 patients at the Comfort and 2,500 patients -- non-urgent COVID patients -- at the Javits Center.

Additionally, the Army Corps has been working with the State of New York on establishing overflow for hospital sites in Westbury, Norfolk and Nassau Counties.

Our second priority is staffing.  We are flooding the area with medical teams.  The Comfort is staffed by 1,000 medical personnel.  The Javits Center currently has a medical staff of 917.

These personnel come from a variety of places.  There's a team from two Army field hospitals, the 531st and Ninth Army Field Hospitals.  We've got 400 personnel from a Navy Expeditionary Medical Facility.  Today, four Army Urban Area Medical Task Force units with 340 personnel are expected to arrive in New York, and three other Army Urban Area Medical Task Forces will report to New Jersey and Connecticut.

Additionally, 325 DOD medical professionals have arrived in New York and will start supporting 11 public hospitals tomorrow.  You know the hospitals better than I, but they are the city hospitals -- New York City Health and Hospitals-Bellevue, Coney Island, Elmhurst, Harlem, Jacobi, Kings County, Lincoln, Metropolitan, North Central Bronx, Queens, and Woodhull.

Each hospital is receiving 20 to 30 medical personnel to augment the hospital's civilian staff.  This includes doctors, assistants, nurses, respiratory therapists and other professionals.

We also expect an additional 775 medical professionals to travel to New York City in the coming days to further support our efforts.  These will be a mix of Army, Navy, and Air Force personnel, including Air Force reservists.

As you know, the New York National Guard is surging staff across the state of New York with 2,875 personnel on duty from Niagara Falls to Montauk Point.  And lastly, the New York Guard has 270 personnel on site at the Javits Center and is providing unified command post staff, logistics and warehousing support.

With regard to emergency supplies, the Department of Defense has released five million N95 masks to the state of New York.  In addition to the hundreds of ventilators on the Comfort and deployed with our field hospital units, in New York City, 300 ventilators have been transferred to New Jersey FEMA for distribution to New York City hospitals.

In addition to supporting the Javits Center, the New York National Guard has helped deliver 350,000 meals in all five boroughs, the Guard is supporting nine testing sites that are seeing more than 5,000 citizens each day, the Guard members are manning three call centers and speaking with more than 5,000 citizens each day.  On the testing front, the Guard is helping pack more than 11,000 test kits each day.

So while DOD emergency science efforts don't physically touch New York, they are taking place at our labs around the country.  U.S. military researchers are at the forefront of vaccine and therapeutic development with USAMRIID beginning non-human primate vaccine testing yesterday.

So I apologize for attempting to cover a lot of ground in my opener but I appreciate you listening and at this point I will now open it up to -- to questions.

So we'll -- we'll start at the -- with the -- Lita from AP.

Q:  Hi.  Thank you very much.

A couple of update questions, Jonathan, and for the military folks, as well.  Can you tell us how quickly that you're going to be able to transition the Comfort to all COVID and what the risks may be to the non-COVID people who were there initially?

And then the staff person who tested positive, can you say what kind of threat that is to the ship and whether or not that may have come from a patient or some other outside source?  And then Jonathan, just for you, a quick -- can you also update us on the Mercy -- do you know if something similar will be done for the Mercy, will that also shift to COVID patients?

MR. HOFFMAN:  So I'll turn this over to Admiral Lewis to address your first two questions and if -- and if he cares, he can address the third, as well, and if not I'll take it.

VICE ADMIRAL ANDREW L. LEWIS:  Yes, ma'am, good afternoon.

So in regards to Comfort transitioning to the -- to trauma urgent and -- emergency patients who regardless of their COVID status, who have already transitioned -- we are fully transitioned.  We've done some minor configurations on the ships, and there is no risk to any of the patients that are non-COVID at this time.  The -- we -- the -- we have -- we're able to isolate within the ship the non-COVID patients from the COVID-positive patients.  In -- that's in regards to your first question, so we're already transitioning and we're ready to go.

In regards to the staff member that -- on the ship’s -- that tested positive, that crew member has been isolated.  There's absolutely no mission impact and -- and the -- there have been no exposure with patients prior to the testing of positive.

The testing was actually done out of an abundance of caution and the -- and there is nobody has had any close contact with the isolated individual but those that have in the recent past are in -- in a -- isolated status themselves, being monitored for symptoms that -- symptoms and none of them are symptomatic at this time.

And then in regards to the Mercy, at this time we are not looking to -– we are not looking to -– we do not anticipate looking to transition to the same type of status.  However, the -- the procedures are in place to do so and we've been doing that in tandem with MCE West, which is my counterpart on the West Coast that is commanding the Mercy.

MR. HOFFMAN:  Thank you, Admiral.

And Lita, on that one, as we said from the start, we've been adjusting our -- our operating practices with regard to the hospital ships.  At this time, the -- as the Admiral mentioned, we don't see it as necessary but we've clearly established that if it does become necessary, we'll take the steps required to assist the communities.

All right, so next we'll go to Lisa Rozner from CBS News.

Q:  Yes, hi.

My question is how are you keeping the crew and medical staff on the Comfort safe when they're not working?  And I've heard that they're possibly staying in a local hotel.  Would you be able to share any details on that?

MR. HOFFMAN:  So Admiral Lewis, if you don't mind?

ADM. LEWIS:  Yes, ma'am.

So what we are doing on the ship to keep the medical treatment -- or the individuals who are the doctors and nurses safe and isolated, we have segregated the ship in a red zone and a green zone and basically the red zone is parts of the ships that has patient interactions, so that's where all the doctors and nurses are working.

On the green zone is the other parts of the ship where we have to run the auxiliary services and run the plant on the ship and the crewing of the ship from a security standpoint.  That's the green zone.  They don't go across, back and forth, from red to green.

With the medical professionals that are onboard the ship, we have indeed moved them from the ship to a local hotel that was previously closed.  I can't talk about the name of the hotel but it was previously closed.  They opened it up and the only people who are staying in that hotel are Comfort personnel.

And we right now, we have about 500 people there.  We will be upwards of about 800 by the time everybody is transitioned from the ship to there.  And so they will be going -- if you think about it logically, they're going back and forth.  They -- work their shifts, then they go home to the hotel where they all have single rooms and somewhat of a partial isolation standpoint where they can get cleaned up, get rested and fed, and then they go back to their next shift 12 hours later.

MR. HOFFMAN:  All right, thank you.

We'll go next to Shayna Jacobs, Washington Post.

Q:  Yes, hi, thank you.

So, given all of these measures that you are clearly taking in order to try to limit the spread on the ship, are there still concerns that just given the -- the -- the environment on a ship in general that this could potentially get out of hand, like we've seen on some of the cruise ships?

And also, is there -- is there like a strategy to try to get more COVID patients to other hospitals and the Javits Center before they're brought to the Comfort for that very reason?  Because it's more -- it's seemingly more difficult to contain on a big ship than it -- than it is elsewhere.

MR. HOFFMAN:  Admiral Lewis?

ADM. LEWIS:  So first and foremost, the safety and the ability of our crew members and the doctors do their work, to do the mission is our first priority always, and we have taken every step possible to ensure that safety.  It -- it is -- a shipboard environment is a unique environment, but I can tell you on this particular ship the -- this is a ship that we don't have that many merchant mariners on board.  The crew itself is very small, relatively speaking.  It's -- and everybody else on the ship are military medicine personnel who I've already addressed.  They -- they're getting on and off the ship.

So of the 1,200 or more people on the ship, most of them are staying off the ship and only working in the red zone.  The green zone people are essentially isolated all the time anyway.  They all have their individual staterooms.  They all have an ability to be isolated within the skin of the ship, and if we ever have any doubt of that, we will take them off the ship -- and be able to care for them with the -- the standard of care that we provide to any of the patients or any of the service members, as well.

But I'm not concerned whatsoever, and I think that the -- well, in fact, I know the captain and the merchant seamen captain and the command element commanding officer are fully communicating all that to the crew, and they are -- they are well taken care of in order to be able to do their mission.

MR. HOFFMAN:  And let me just follow up with that and ask General Hall if you can kind of weigh in a little bit on the model of what's -- what's taking place at the Javits Center with regard to the different type of patients we're seeing, and our efforts to focus on -- on treating patients at the Javits Center right now.

MAJOR GENERAL WILLIAM A. HALL:  Hey, this is -- thank you.  This is Major General Hall.

You may or may not know -- we started this process to build out what the state of New York wanted in the Javits Center, the original thought -- there was a need for Tier 5-level patients, basically a medical shelter to treat those patients.  It became very apparent that through the work of the governor and the mayor that the hospitals had done a very good job (inaudible) those patients already, so that wasn't the need for the Javits Center.

So starting on Saturday, we started accepting COVID patients, focused on COVID convalescent, but we also set up one of our 48-bed ICUs, and they're based on the concern, even if they were recovering from COVID that there might be a relapse.  So we set those up in -- in 48 hours.  What a great story in how quickly everybody came together to do that.

I got permission just a few hours ago.  We've got another 48-bed ICU that's en route now from Fort Dix.  It will arrive later today, and in another 48 hours we'll have it up.  So that'll give us 96 ICU beds to be able to receive patients, as required.

So that's kind of the -- what we've gone through as far as building capability for the Javits Center and what we're doing.  Over.

MR. HOFFMAN:  All right, great.  All right, we'll go to Phil Saffron from AM 880. Phil?

All right, we'll go on to Bryan Llenas, Fox News.

Q:  Hi.

My question has to do with the protocol.  I know that the -- there was a lot of talk about how it was done before, conversation with the hospitals.  How has the process been streamlined when it comes to communication with the hospitals?  Are we going to -- has it been streamlined in a way in which patients are going to be taken to the Javits Center and onboard the Comfort in a quicker fashion than what we've seen?

MR. HOFFMAN:  Okay, I'll ask General Hall to -- to kick that one off before we go to others.

GEN. HALL:  Okay, hey, thank you.  Again, great question.

You know, it's amazing to me.  I've been on the ground for two weeks here, and where the Javits Center started,I think I arrived on day two of that cycle as we built that capability out.  So one of the challenges is -- was it was Tier 5 initially, and that's not what the hospitals needed.

When we made the transition on Saturday, the communication of that transition was difficult.  The good news is we've worked past that.  Colonel Aiello and her team, and then Admiral Lewis' team, we put together two personnel in those teams, a doctor and a nurse to go out to the hospitals and sit down with them and explain what patients we were taking for the Comfort and for the Javits Center, and then help them screen their records, because they're working hard at hospitals and -- and really had a hard time having the time to do that.  So those two personnel in those teams going out has made a huge difference.

Also, as we are on the ground and better understand the New York City health system and hospital system, in the last 48 hours the level of communication has grown exponentially to understand the need.  We're currently working through that with the 325 providers we're going to send out in 20- to 30-person teams to support those hospitals.  But the level of understanding of what the hospitals need and the level of understanding of what we're able to provide has grown.  And so we're seeing our patient count go up, and we're continuing to work that every day to make sure that we can help them offload the patients that we can accept at the Javits Center.  Over.

MR. HOFFMAN:  I want to open that up anybody else from the DOD team.

ADM. LEWIS:  Yes, this is Admiral Lewis.

Just to add on what Bill just provided, those teams that have gone out over the last two days now -- this is day three of that – have proven to be -- excuse me -- hugely beneficial -- hugely beneficial in order to streamline that process, because what I've sent out -- I've sent out today was doctors and nurses from the Comfort who can speak to the higher-acuity capability that we have to treat higher-acuity patients on the Comfort directly with the hospital doctors and effect the transfer there; not have to go through an intermediary.  And so that's going to relieve any friction in the system completely, I think.

And the other point I would make, to once again, to reinforce what the general said, is that we're looking at the Javits and Comfort as a single ecosystem, a single care provider for COVID, regardless of COVID status.  But at the Comfort, with emergency trauma and urgent care patients, whereas Javits primarily in COVID convalescence, as he's described.

MR. HOFFMAN:  And, Brian, I would just add -- this is Jonathan -- I would just add one more thing on top of that.  And it's when you -- when you look at the timeline of us getting the Javits Center set up with the the state working with the National Guard and others in the Army Corps to set that up, with the efforts to get the Comfort up there, the Navy expediting the maintenance and pulling those teams together, the one thing we've seen is that we've been early to need.

So the Department of Defense was early to need, and got up there, got set up.  The goal was to be there so we could assist when and if the New York hospital system became overwhelmed and the peak was hitting.  And so what you've seen is, as we've done that, we've gone through the steps to get the site set up, we've gone through the steps to get the supplies there, we've gone to the steps where we're flooding in doctors and nurses and respiratory therapists.

And then as -- as both General Hall and Admiral Lewis mentioned, we're working through that process, that system.  So integrating our new hospital, the 2,500 -- up to 2,500-bed Javits Center and 500-bed Comfort, working those two new hospitals into the New York City hospital system so that we can take patients that are well-suited for those hospitals and take off pressure where it is needed.

And so that's taken a few days to work through and work out the protocols and the processes, but it looks like the great progress has been made over the last 48 hours and we expect that system to continue to smooth out in the coming days as the need rises.

So with that, we'll go to Michael Schwartz from The New York Times.

Q:  Hello, thank you again for doing this.  It's really, really helpful.

General Hall, Admiral Lewis, I wonder if you could describe a little bit more the patient classification.  Admiral Lewis, you touched on this a little bit.

It's -- am I understanding this correctly, that the Javits Center is going to be primarily for COVID patients suffering from less severe -- or suffering less acutely from COVID?  And the -- the Comfort, reserved for people who are suffering more severe symptoms?

And if you could both -- if you have it off the top of your head -- identify how many ventilators that you have on each -- in each of your facilities, that would be helpful.  Thank you.

MR. HOFFMAN:  So we'll go to -- we'll start with General Hall and then Admiral Lewis.

GEN. HALL:  Hey, I've got Colonel Kim Aiello, she runs the two hospitals for us here and she's going to take that question.  Over.

Go ahead, Kim.

COLONEL KIM AIELLO:  Hi, sir.  Thanks for the question.

First, up-front, I'd like to answer, we have 42 ventilators are currently at the Javits New York Medical Station.  And in reference to your question, the type of patients we see, as mentioned by General Hall, we spoke to -- we were seeing tier five or also referred to as a medical shelter.

We've now moved to a tier four, which is the surgical low acuity.  And what we mean by that, I think the best way to explain is you think -- think of a bell-shaped curve.  When a COVID patient presents to the hospital and they come into the E.R., one out of four patients, more than likely, will end up ventilated.

Those are not the patients we're actually vying for.  We believe that they really need -- those need to be the patients that stay in our hospitals.  So we're actually looking at the patients to take that come across the bell curve, they've come off a vent -- because typically an individual will be on a vent for up to two weeks, as opposed to 48 to 72 hours that we would see non-COVID patients.

So those that have come across the bell curve, they've come off a vent, and then those that are starting towards the recovery phase.  They still require a hospitalization, but not the intensive ventilator support.

Does that answer your question, sir?

Q:  Yes, that's good.  Thank you very much.

And just, sorry, to touch base, you're getting more ventilators, right?  I think General Hall said as of today?

COL. AIELLO:  Sir, because we're going to be including the 9th Hospital Center, and that brings in intensive care units, we will have 39 to 42 additional ventilators, because that is required for our intensive care units.

Q:  Understood, thank you.

MR. HOFFMAN:  Admiral Lewis, anything to add to that?

ADM. LEWIS:  Yeah.  From the Comfort standpoint, the Comfort has 500 beds that are fully staffed and fully equipped now. We also have 100 ICU beds with the same number of ventilators, and we are looking to provide more, although we can't convert any more to ICU beds but we're still looking to push ventilators for, you know, if required.

To add onto the -- what the colonel was discussing about the level of care, so the acuity, the higher-acuity acuity patients, i.e. trauma patients, emergency and urgent care patients, regardless of their COVID status, can be treated on the Comfort.

The medical professionals, the doctors and the nurses, know exactly how they classified -- you know, those were the words that were used in the president's orders that we are putting patients through to the system for.

But those details of those medical requirements are well understood by all the hospitals.  This is what the liaison teams are going out and doing, communicating in order to get the right patients to Comfort and the right patients to Javits.

And if required at some point, there could be an opportunity or a time to transfer patients from Javits to Comfort, of higher acuity, or from Comfort back to Javits in that they go into a COVID convalescence state that there are other ailments that they're hospitalized for, they no longer need to be hospitalized for.  So there's that ability to transfer back and forth between the two DOD facilities.

MR. HOFFMAN:  All right, thank you.

All right, with that, we will go to Carla Babb from VOA.

Q:  Hey, thanks for doing this.

Admiral Lewis, good to hear from you.  I'm just curious:  How many COVID patients have you treated so far on the Comfort?  Do you truly feel that the adjustments that you have in place will keep your staff safe and prevent this infection from spreading on the ship?

Mr. Hoffman, can you tell us why the Pentagon stressed for weeks and weeks that these ships were not designed for COVID, only to change and solve the problem in less than 24 hours down the road?  I don't understand why we kept hearing that they're COVID -- able to take COVID if, you know, in the end they are able to safely take COVID patients.

And then Brigadier General Natali, can you help us understand the need in New York right now?  Because I was listening to the governor today.  There are 17,000 patients that are hospitalized with COVID but he had mentioned a couple of weeks ago that there were over 50,000 beds and they were trying to double that number within New York hospitals.

So help us understand why there's a need to open up the Comfort to additional risk and why not keep to the original plan and take in trauma patients and let the COVID go to the Javits Center?

MR. HOFFMAN:  All right.  So Admiral Lewis, if you want to take a first crack at that?

ADM. LEWIS:  Okay.  So first of all, right now we have five patients onboard Comfort that are COVID-positive.  They came onboard in all cases COVID-negative, they were hospitalized for something different than COVID but then when they were retested because they had some other condition that was causing, you know, a clinical evaluation of COVID and they're remaining onboard because they can be treated properly and isolated currently -- to isolate it within one of the wards.  And -- so that's -- there's no issue there.

I have personally been on a ship a couple of days ago -- well, several times, but a couple of days ago, walking the ward in the wards where we have a COVID patient and to be, you know, I can tell you that the treatment is absolutely, you know, first rate, but also from the members of the ship external to, you know -- they're on the ship, the crew members and the doctors and the nurses, they're absolutely comfortable with all of the protocols they're meeting as far as remaining safe and treating COVID patients that are COVID positive.

This -- for the Comfort to do –- to really relieve the pressure -- you know, to be a part of relief for the pressure on the New York City hospitals, we have to be able to do this because this is where there are tremendous number of patients in these hospitals, most of which are COVID-positive and of that number, there is a very large percentage of them that were hospitalized for something else but they're still COVID-positive.

So if we restrict ourselves to being -- to not taking it -- there are a very small number of them in the New York City hospitals that are hospitalized for something other than COVID and are COVID-negative.  And that's the number -- that was the -- so we're not able really to achieve our mission that we were sent here by the President and the Secretary of Defense to do, in conjunction with Javits, to really get at where the relief is needed.

That's my interpretation of how it's all playing out.  But we've had to adjust what we do and how we do it and reconfigure the ship accordingly but I'm very confident that we have taken all of the requisite steps to do so and that's -- and mitigated what risk we have incurred to the maximum degree possible.

MR. HOFFMAN:  So Admiral, I know you had a hard stop at 1400, so if you're going to drop off, feel free.  We've got two more questions and I want to give General Hall an opportunity to take this question, as well.  But just being respectful of your time, just wanted to make everybody aware of that.  So General Hall, do you want to take -- any additional to add on to that?

GEN. HALL:  No, I don't -- I don't have anything else to add onto that one.  I mean, I think we -- it's been clearly covered.  Over.

MR. HOFFMAN:  Okay.  And the one thing I would just point out, Carla, as -- as we've talked about before is, as we've said from the start with regard to the Comfort and the Mercy and other opportunities at that, the Department of Defense has never said that we can't do some of these missions.  It's just that we need to balance the risk and work our way up the risk ladder.

And as the admiral said, we have mitigated the risk as much as we can based on opening up to COVID patients.  We've also reduced the number of beds available and have taken steps to mitigate the risk of exposure, particularly exposure that could affect a longer term of deployment.

So those are all things that we have said throughout that we would have to do but we've been balancing that and have made a determination with the governor of New York and the President and the Secretary and General O'Shaughnessy to move forward with this path.

So next we'll go to Tom Bowman, NPR.

Q:  Thanks.

This is for General Natali but anyone else can jump in.  Do you think New York City will need transportation from DOD to get these patients from hospitals to the Javits Center or the Comfort or there are enough ambulances?

And also, is it true that New York City – New York state patients have to give their consent before heading to either Javits or the Comfort?  And if that's the case, you know, this could clog the system because a lot of people may just decide to stay in the hospitals and not go to those facilities.

MR. HOFFMAN:  So I'll actually turn that over to General Hall to start with and then from there to General Natali.

GEN. HALL:  Yes, sir.  Hey, I think two questions you asked me are on the transportation to the Javits Center and the Mercy (Comfort).  The state has set up a contract to do that.  We're very comfortable with the number of ambulances they have dedicated towards that, to bring patients either to the Javits Center, to the Comfort or transport the patients in between that.

The second part of your question is you're correct, they have to give their consent to come here.  One of the things Jonathan, in his opening statement, kind of talked about, you know, how we're working through getting people here.

Part of the outreach effort with our LNO teams (liaison teams) is we're currently working on a pamphlet to give to the hospitals so people know what to expect.  I mean, generally when you go to a hospital you know what to expect and then if you're said "hey, we want to move you to the Comfort or we want to move you to the Javits Center," overcoming that fear of that gap of information I think is critical to them coming to these locations, but yes, they have to give their consent.  Over.

Q:  Well, do you -- do you agree that there could be a problem here?  ‘Cause if I'm sitting in Mount Sinai or another hospital, I have a comfortable room, I may not want to go to the Javits Center, this open area, or to a ship.

GEN. HALL:  Yeah, we're doing the best we can to make them comfortable, to understand what they're coming to in coming to those two locations.  And we know that the New York City hospital system will help us sort through that, and the private hospitals as well.

Q:  Thank you.

MR. HOFFMAN:  General Natali, anything to add to that?

BRIGADIER GENERAL MICHEL A. NATALI:  No, nothing to add other than, we have not been asked to provide any DOD-specific capabilities to transport.  I think that was the first part of the question as well.  Nothing more to add, thank you.

MR. HOFFMAN:  All right, we're going to go to our last question.  Jeff Schogol from Task and Purpose?

Q:  Thank you.  This is a question for everyone.  How many ventilators is the Javits Center getting and can you say when they all will arrive?  Thank you.

MR. HOFFMAN:  So I'll turn that over to General Hall.

GEN. HALL:  Currently we've got 42.  In 48 hours, 72 hours, we'll have another 48.  Over.

Q:  Thank you.  Is that all that you're getting?  Are you getting any more on top of that?

GEN. HALL:  No, that's what's currently planned right now.

MR. HOFFMAN:  And I think, Jeff, it goes back to the plan for what type of patient the Javits Center is intended to treat.  So the Javits Center is intended to treat the low acuity patients who are in less dire situation, while the Comfort is intended to treat the higher acuity patients who may need intensive care and can move into the ICU and the stock of ventilators on the Comfort.

So I believe that's one way to describe the situation.  I don't know if, General Hall, if you have anything else to add to that?

GEN. HALL:  And as Admiral Lewis said, we look at the Comfort and the Javits Center as one ecosystem.  So they have the ability with 100 ICU beds, so in 72 hours, we'll have almost 200 beds combined with ventilators.  And so that's gone into the calculations, the staffing for the beds that we're manning, and making sure that we have adequate ICU beds.

That was why the decision -- General O'Shaughnessy at NORTHCOM made the decision earlier today to forward-deploy and employ that other 48 ICU beds so that we meet the need for the city New York, and the state of New York.  Over.

MR. HOFFMAN:  All right, guys.  Thank you for those of you jumping on from the New York media.  We really appreciate it.  We'll try to do this again soon.  And thank you to the call participants for taking the time to take these questions.  Take care.

Q:  Thank you.