US Naval Hospital Ship ‘Mercy’ Arrives in LA, Offers Relief to Hospitals, While ‘Comfort’ to Set Sail to NY

March 28, 2020 Updated: March 29, 2020

The U.S. naval hospital ship “Mercy” arrived in Los Angeles on Friday to lend support to the city’s healthcare system in its efforts to respond to the pandemic.

The 894-foot-long vessel has 1,000 beds for adult patients and will offer relief for land-based hospitals in the L.A. area, freeing up beds, ventilators, and medical staff to care for CCP virus patients. The city is expected to see a swell of CCP virus cases in the coming weeks.

Epoch Times Photo
The Military Sealift Command hospital ship USNS Mercy (T-AH 19) arrives in Los Angeles, March 27, 2020. (©U.S. Navy | Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class David Mora Jr./Released)

“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, the county and the city in their ongoing COVID-19 relief efforts,” said Rear Admiral John E. Gumbleton, per the U.S. Navy website.

The vessel staffs up to 1,200 medical personnel and 71 civil service mariners. It has 12 fully equipped operating rooms, 80 intensive care beds, and the equivalent of 15 hospital wards. The Mercy also maintains a supply of 5,000 units of blood. It is designed to provide comprehensive care for adults.

Epoch Times Photo
©U.S. Navy | Luke Lamborn

“You would be surprised once you get onboard, it looks like a regular hospital,” said Captain John Rotruck, the ship’s commanding officer, who is also a cardiac anesthesiologist.

Setting up the 1,000-bed floating hospital in just five days was the biggest challenge that they overcame, Rotruck adds.

Meanwhile, the Mercy’s sister ship, the USNS Comfort, is set to sail on Saturday, bound for New York, where it will relieve the city’s heath care system, now at a breaking point. President Trump will also travel to Norfolk, Virginia, to send off the vessel, which is expected to arrive in the New York harbor on Monday, three weeks earlier than originally planned.

Epoch Times Photo
USNS Comfort (T-AH 20) returns to Naval Station Norfolk after a five-month deployment on Nov. 15, 2019. (©U.S. Navy)

New York has become the epicenter of the CCP virus in the United States, with more than 44,000 cases, which accounts for nearly half of the nation’s total confirmed cases, according to data from John Hopkins University.

All personnel were screened for CCP virus infection before being allowed on board, according to Captain Rotruck, and the Mercy is working with local authorities for procedures for testing patients before transferring to the ship. Patients approved for transfer to the Mercy will start shuttling in from local, and possibly regional, hospitals as soon as Saturday.

However, neither the Mercy nor the Comfort are equipped with the special air ventilation using negative pressure to isolate patients with the virus.

The USNS Mercy is currently docked at a wharf normally used by Princess Cruise Line ships.

The primary mission of both the Mercy and Comfort is to provide a mobile, acute surgical medical facility while afloat that is “flexible, capable, and uniquely adaptable.” They are designed to support the U.S. military in expeditionary warfare.

However, their secondary mission is to provide full hospital services to disaster relief and humanitarian operations in the United States and worldwide.

The Epoch Times refers to the novel coronavirus, which causes the disease COVID-19, as the CCP virus because the Chinese Communist Party’s coverup and mismanagement allowed the virus to spread throughout China and create a global pandemic.

Epoch Times Photo
USNS Mercy (T-AH-19) moored at Naval Base San Diego. (©U.S. Navy)