Mar 26, 2020
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US Navy’s hospital ship ‘Mercy’ as it prepares 1000 beds for non-coronavirus patients

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Military and medical staff on board the US Navy’s lead hospital ship, ‘Mercy’, are making preparations to take on as many as 1,000 non-coronavirus patients while docked in Los Angeles.

The former super oil tanker left its home port in San Diego earlier this week to help free up beds on the mainland in the Los Angeles area for treating patients who are infected with the deadly, flu-like virus also known as COVID-19.

More than 800 medical professionals are on board the Mercy to provide medical and surgical services that patients normally would have received in hospitals which are now nearing their maximum with people seeing treatment and testing for the infection.

Military and medical staff on board the US Navy’s lead hospital ship, ‘Mercy’, are making preparations to take on as many as 1,000 non-coronavirus patients while docked in Los Angeles. The Mercy is pictured at its home port in San Diego before the current mission

The Mercy is seen departing its San Diego home port, bound for Los Angeles, where it will provide relief to mainland hospitals which are nearing capacity because of the coronavirus outbreak

The Mercy is seen departing its San Diego home port, bound for Los Angeles, where it will provide relief to mainland hospitals which are nearing capacity because of the coronavirus outbreak

Crew members are seen on deck of the Mercy as it makes its way to Los Angeles to serve as a hospital for noncoronavirus patients in need of medical and surgical services

Crew members are seen on deck of the Mercy as it makes its way to Los Angeles to serve as a hospital for noncoronavirus patients in need of medical and surgical services

The bow of the Mercy as it makes its way to Los Angeles with 800 medical personnel on board

The bow of the Mercy as it makes its way to Los Angeles with 800 medical personnel on board

The interior of the Mercy resembles most mainland hospitals, with similar medical equipment for treating patients

The interior of the Mercy resembles most mainland hospitals, with similar medical equipment for treating patients

Members of the Mercy's crew are seen making preparations for non-coronavirus patients who will soon come on board in need of medical and surgical procedures

Members of the Mercy’s crew are seen making preparations for non-coronavirus patients who will soon come on board in need of medical and surgical procedures

Footage of the white-hulled Mercy in a Fox News segment reveals the effort underway to bring much-needed relief to soon-to-be overwhelmed hospitals.

Additional images reveal staff as they readied critical medical equipment to treat as many as 1,000 patients.  

Hospitalman Katelynn Kavanagh, from Temecula, Calif., is pictured sanitizing medical equipment aboard the Mercy

Hospitalman Katelynn Kavanagh, from Temecula, Calif., is pictured sanitizing medical equipment aboard the Mercy

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Sailors move a hospital bed along a hallway aboard the Mercy as the hospital ship readies for noncoronavirus patients.

Sailors move a hospital bed along a hallway aboard the Mercy as the hospital ship readies for noncoronavirus patients.

Pictured is one of the Mercy's intensive care units that will be used for treating noncoronavirus patients

Pictured is one of the Mercy’s intensive care units that will be used for treating noncoronavirus patients

Hospital beds are pictured as they are set up aboard the Mercy for the expected noncoronavirus patients

Hospital beds are pictured as they are set up aboard the Mercy for the expected noncoronavirus patients

Sailors on board Mercy wipe down hospital beds with sanitizer in preparation for patients

Sailors on board Mercy wipe down hospital beds with sanitizer in preparation for patients

Military Sealift Command hospital ship

A hospital corpsman assigned to the Mercy is pictured unpacking medical equipment

Sailors are pictured on the Mercy using sanitary wipes to clean medical equipment

Sailors are pictured on the Mercy using sanitary wipes to clean medical equipment

There have been in the US close to 60,000 confirmed cases of the deadly, flu-like virus, also known as COVID-19. 

The infection has been blamed for at least 1,074 known deaths across the country. 

There have been in the US close to 74,000 confirmed cases of the deadly, flu-like virus, also known as COVID-19. The infection has been blamed for at least 1,074 known deaths across the country

There have been in the US close to 74,000 confirmed cases of the deadly, flu-like virus, also known as COVID-19. The infection has been blamed for at least 1,074 known deaths across the country

California has had 3,169 confirmed cases of the virus, which has been blamed for at least 67 deaths. 

Surgical supplies are pictured aboard the Mercy

Surgical supplies are pictured aboard the Mercy

Shortly before the ship left San Diego on Monday, Rear Adm. Tim Weber, commander of Naval Medical Forces Pacific, recalled the vessel’s motto.

‘We are, as the USNS Mercy’s motto says, steaming to assist,’ Weber told NPR.

‘In a matter of days we have assembled an incredible crew of more than 800 medical professionals who embark on the Mercy to lift the burden off local hospitals so they can focus on caring for patients with COVID-19.’

‘We are NOT deploying to treat COVID-19 cases,’ said the ship’s commanding officer, Capt. John Rotruck, at a briefing with reporters.

All patients coming aboard will first have to fill out questionnaires and, if needed, have their temperatures taken.

‘If we did wind up with somebody that we either diagnosed as COVID-19 or thought was highly likely,’ Rotruck said, ‘we would be looking to send them off the ship and do appropriate preventative measures for any contact they had.’

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