The USNS Mercy passes Pt. Loma on an earlier deployment. Navy photo

The Navy is activating its two large hospitals ships to help ease the strain on civilian medical facilities on the east and west coasts amind the coronavirus pandemic.

Defense Secretary Mark Esper said orders have been given to ready the USNS Mercy in San Diego and USNS Comfort in Norfolk.

Each of the ships, which were built by NASSCO in San Diego, have 1,000 beds and 18 operating rooms.

“We’ve already given orders to the Navy to lean forward in terms of getting them ready to deploy,” said Secretary of Defense Mark Esper on Tuesday.

President Trump said Wednesday that the Comfort would be sent to New York harbor. The Mercy will be sent somewhere on the West Coast.

It will reportedly take several days to bring aboard medical staff and equipment before the two ships can depart.

The ships will reportedly take on non-coronavirus cases so civilian hospitals can focus on the most critical patients

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Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.