VIDEO/PICTURES: Massive hospital ship, the USNS Mercy, arrives at the Port of LA

The 1,000-bed hospital ship USNS Mercy sailed into the Port of Los Angeles today to provide relief for Southern California hospitals overwhelmed by the coronavirus pandemic.

The ship departed Naval Station San Diego Monday and entered the Port of Los Angeles at about 8 a.m., where it will dock at the cruise ship terminal. Mercy will not house people who test positive or are showing symptoms of COVID-19, but, rather the ship’s staff will take care of patients suffering from other ailments and injuries. Port officials said the arrival of Mercy is not expected to disrupt shipment operations, and there will be a gradual transfer of patients to the ship from land-based hospitals as needed.

Mercy cruised into the port with more than 800 Navy medical personnel and support staff, and 70-plus civil service mariners who operate and navigate the ship, load and off-load mission cargo, assist with repairs to mission equipment and provide essential services to keep the medical facility running.

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, according to the Navy. 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.

“This global crisis demands whole of government response, and we are ready to support,” said Navy Capt. John Rotruck, Mercy’s military treatment facility commanding officer.

“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,” he said. “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.”

A tug boat pushes and guides the USNS Mercy as it prepares to dock at the Port of Los Angeles in San Pedro Friday, 27, 2020. The hospital ship is a non-commissioned service with the United States Navy. Photo by Thomas R. Cordova.

A U.S. Coast Guard escorts the USNS Mercy as it makes her way into the Port of Los Angeles in San Pedro. Photo by Thomas R. Cordova.

Tug boats guide the USNS Mercy as it makes its way into the Port of Los Angeles in San Pedro Friday. Photo by Thomas R. Cordova.

The USNS Mercy comes through Angels Gate as it makes its way into the Port of Los Angeles. Photo by Thomas R. Cordova.

Andrea Bobadilla, right, waves at the USNS Mercy as it approaches the Port of Los Angeles in San Pedro. Photo by Thomas R. Cordova.

A crew member stands in a side doorway of the USNS Mercy. Photo by Thomas R. Cordova.

The Vincent Thomas Bridge is seen as the USNS Mercy makes its way into the Port of Los Angeles. Photo by Thomas R. Cordova.

The USNS Mercy peeks around the dock at the Port of Los Angeles. Photo by Thomas R. Cordova.

The crew of the USNS Mercy stands among 3 decks as the ship docks. Photo by Thomas R. Cordova.

The crew of the USNS Mercy stands as the ship docks at the makes her way into the Port of Los Angeles in San Pedro Friday, March 27, 2020.  Photo by Thomas R. Cordova.

The bow of the USNS Mercy. Photo by Thomas R. Cordova.

A tug boat pushes and guides the USNS Mercy as it makes its way into the Port of Los Angeles in San Pedro Friday. Photo by Thomas R. Cordova.

The USNS Mercy as it makes the way through the Port of Los Angeles in San Pedro Friday, 27, 2020Photo by John Robinson Photography.

The Palos Verdes Peninsula is the backdrop as the USNS Mercy as it makes the way through the Port of Los Angeles in San Pedro Friday, 27, 2020. Photo by John Robinson Photography.

Tugboat guides the Mercy into port. Photo by John Robinson Photography.

The USNS Mercy as it makes its way through the Port of Los Angeles. Photo by John Robinson Photography.

The USNS Mercy as it makes the way through the Port of Los Angeles in San Pedro. Photo by John Robinson Photography.

The USNS Mercy as it nears its dock. Photo by John Robinson Photography.

The USNS Mercy is guided to its berth at the Port of LA. Photo by John Robinson Photography.

The tug Arthur Foss helps to guide the Mercy to its berth. Photo by John Robinson Photography.

The USNS Mercy as it makes the way through the Port of Los Angeles in San Pedro on Friday. Photo by John Robinson Photography.

The USNS Mercy arrives at  Port of Los Angeles in San Pedro. Photo by John Robinson Photography.

The USNS Mercy as it makes the way through Angels Gate. Photo by John Robinson Photography.

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