The USNS Mercy docked at Naval Base San Diego after the Pacific Partnership mission. Navy photo

The hospital ship USNS Mercy departed Naval Base San Diego Monday for Los Angeles in support of the nation’s coronavirus pandemic response efforts.

“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.”

Mercy departed Naval Base San Diego with more than 800 Navy medical personnel and support staff with the afloat medical treatment facility, 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 up and 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. 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.

— City News Service

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