The USNS Mercy, a Navy hospital ship docked in the Port of Los Angeles, opened its doors to its first patients Sunday, officials announced.
Requested by Gov. Gavin Newsom, the USNS Mercy Hospital ship will serve as a referral hospital in LA and carries trained medical workers and resources that will take care of non-COVID-19 related illnesses.
The ship will provide a wide range of medical care including general surgeries, critical care and ward care for adults. The ship's purpose is to ease the burden on area hospitals dealing with the growing coronavirus pandemic. As of Sunday, LA County had more than 2,100 confirmed cases of the virus.
Photos: About the USNS Mercy, the Navy’s Floating Hospital Deploying to the Port of LA
The shift of non-COVID-19 patients to the Mercy expects to help hospitals prioritize the usage of intensive care units (ICU) and ventilators.
"I couldn't be more proud of our crew for all the hard work they did to get us here and ready in such a short time," said Capt. John Rotruck, Mercy's Military Treatment Facility commanding officer. "Being able to accept our first patients is a true testament of the teamwork between Mercy, the Navy, the State of California, the county of Los Angeles, and the City and Port of L.A."
According to the statement provided by the Navy’s Third Fleet, the USNS Mercy includes a team of “Navy medical and support staff assembled from 22 commands, as well as over 70 civil service mariners.”
"The men and women embarked on board Mercy are energized, eager, and ready to provide relief to those in need," Rotruck said.
Although the Mercy’s primary mission is to provide a mobile and capable surgical medical facility to the U.S. Military, the ship has been mobilized to provide full hospital services in the event of a national emergency and to support U.S. disaster relief.