"This is known as a transfer hospital site where patients already in facilities in and around Los Angeles and other areas of Los Angeles County will be transferred to the USS Mercy for ongoing treatment," said the chief of police. from the Thomas Gazsi port.
The ship, originally slated to dock in Washington state, was redirected by President Donald Trump at the request of Governor Gavin Newsom.
California is expected to see an increase in COVID-19 patients in the coming weeks, and Governor Gavin Newsom has previously said the state needs an additional 50,000 hospital beds. USNS Mercy will provide 1,000 additional beds, 12 operating rooms, and 800 Navy medical and support personnel.
Staff on board the ship will be able to provide a wide range of services, including critical and urgent care for adults, but will not provide obstetric or pediatric care.
"We will meet all the needs that are necessary to ensure adequate medical care for those who arrive regionally at the USS Mercy," said Gazsi.
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Navy officials said medical personnel, many of whom had not worked together before, have been conducting drills and preparing the hospital for patients arriving by land ambulance from regional hospitals.
"Patients will be transferred out of regional hospitals on a case-by-case basis," Gazsi said. “The rate at which that occurs will take place over several days. It won't be an avalanche of patients coming at once. "
And with the ship docked to treat patients, port officials said they are still open for business.
"We must also keep our supply chains moving to bring essential products to our consumers and medical supplies to our hospital community and to those dealing with our disease," said Gene Seroka, executive director of the Port of Los Angeles.
While Seroka said the port is handling 80% of its normal cargo for this time of year and expected that the lightest flow to continue in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, he said the flow "into the nation's largest port will not be prevented. "
USNS Mercy is expected to arrive Friday morning at 8:30 a.m., according to Navy officials, and is expected to be on duty Saturday.