Navy hospital ship arrives in Los Angeles
A U.S. Navy hospital ship arrived in Los Angeles on Friday to help relieve local hospitals expected to be overburdened by coronavirus patients.
The USNS Mercy will treat non-coronavirus patients to free up beds at local hospitals while they focus on the surge of patients suffering from COVID-19.
— Port of Los Angeles (@PortofLA) March 27, 2020
The ship has a capacity of 1,000 beds and is expected to be staffed by 1,128 personnel.
“Mercy brings a team of medical professionals, medical equipment and supplies, all of which will act, in essence, as a ‘relief valve’ for local civilian hospitals in Los Angeles so that local health professionals can better focus on COVID-19 cases,” Capt. John Rotruck, commanding officer of the Mercy’s military treatment facility, said in a statement earlier this week. “We will use our agility and responsiveness as an afloat medical treatment facility to do what the country asks and bring relief where we are needed most.”
The ship pulled into the Port of Los Angeles on Friday morning after leaving its home port in San Diego on Monday. Despite San Diego’s proximity to Los Angeles, the ship needed a few extra days to arrive to complete training and certifications that must be done at sea.
The U.S. Navy operates two hospital ships, the Mercy and the Comfort, to help with relief efforts during crises, such as in Puerto Rico in 2017 after Hurricane Maria.
The USNS Comfort, which is based in Virginia, will deploy to New York with the same mission of relieving local hospitals fighting the coronavirus. Its deployment is taking longer than the Mercy’s because it was undergoing maintenance.
On Thursday, President Trump announced the Comfort will deploy Saturday. Trump said he will travel to Norfolk, Va., to see the ship off.