The US Navy hospital ship USNS Mercy departed Naval Station San Diego today and is now underway to Los Angeles in support of American COVID-19 response efforts.
“This global crisis demands whole-of-government response, and we are ready to support,” said Capt. John Rotruck, Mercy’s Military Treatment Facility commanding officer in a news release.
“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. 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.”
According to a U.S. Navy statement:
“Mercy departed Naval Base San Diego with over 800 U.S. Navy medical personnel and support staff with the afloat medical treatment facility (MTF), and over 70 civil service mariners. The ship will serve as a referral hospital for non-COVID-19 patients currently admitted to shore-based hospitals, and will provide a full spectrum of medical care to include general surgeries, critical care and ward care for adults. This will allow local health professionals to focus on treating COVID-19 patients and for shore-based hospitals to use their Intensive Care Units and ventilators for those patients.”
Mercy is the first of two Mercy-class hospital ships. A converted San Clemente-class supertanker, Mercy was delivered to the U.S. Navy’s Military Sealift Command in 1986.