LOS ANGELES — Military Sealift Command hospital ship USNS Mercy (T-AH 19) arrived in Los Angeles, on Friday, March 27 to support the nation’s COVID-19 response efforts. The ship left San Diego on Monday, which you can watch here.
“The men and women of the USNS Mercy and the United States Navy are honored to be here in Los Angeles supporting FEMA, the state of California, and the city in their ongoing COVID-19 relief efforts,” said Rear Adm. John E. Gumbleton, Commander, Expeditionary Strike Group Three, at a press conference.
Governor Gavin Newsom and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti visited the ship on Friday. You can watch the entire press conference here:
The ship is "fully staffed with every conceivable need,” said Newsom.
While in Los Angeles, the ship will serve as a referral hospital for non-COVID-19 patients. The USNS Mercy is “a relief valve” for local hospitals. They goal is not to help COVID-19 patients, but rather to lighten the load of hospitals so those hospitals can treat COVID-19 patients. For example, someone may be treated on board if they have pneumonia or a broken leg.
“This will be COVID-19-free bubble,” said Garcetti. “This is a ship that is full of angels in this city of angels.”
Garcetti said health officials predict that LA is five days behind NYC in terms of cases.
“Doctors will have to make excruciating decisions,” said Garcetti.
Newsom said they’re temporarily licensing 4th-year medical students. Additionally, Over 2,000 retired medical professionals have enlisted to help in LA alone.
“None of us are naive that we are going to need more support down the line,” said Newsom.
The goal is to “bring relief where needed most," said Navy Captain John Rotruck.
“This time for partnership, not partisanship,” said Newsom.
Garcetti is a Navy veteran himself.
California saw a 26% spike in cases in just a day, which was expected. Newsom and Garcetti said it will only increase due to the “surge we expect to see in the next week or two.”
Newsom wants to expand testing capacity and diagnostics and move people through system quicker.
The state has procured 101 million masks and five million sets of gloves for healthcare workers.
The leaders also named Elon Musk as an example of the private sector helping with ventilators and AirBnB helping first responders.
Newsom called Garcetti an “incredible partner.”
“There hasn’t been a day where he hasn’t reached out,” said Newsom.
Garcetti also applauded Newsom.
“He’s become America’s governor,” said Garcetti.