Acting Secretary of the Navy Thomas B. Modly has his temperature read as part of a COVID-19 screening prior to a March 31 tour of the hospital ship USNS Mercy, which is deployed to Los Angeles. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Natalie M. Byers.

Acting Secretary of the Navy Thomas B. Modly toured the USNS Mercy Tuesday in Los Angeles, where the hospital ship is deployed in support of the nation’s COVID-19 response efforts.

Prior to boarding the seagoing medical center, Modly had his temperature checked as part of a COVID-19 screening. The acting secretary was shown around the ship’s patient treatment areas, spoke with medical personnel and addressed sailors over the ship’s public address system.

“I would like to personally thank the men and women embarked aboard Mercy,” Modly said. “I’m proud of the hard work and agility they demonstrated to get the Mercy to Los Angeles and begin accepting patients almost immediately.”

Mercy deployed from Naval Station San Diego a week ago, and began to accept patients Sunday. Its mission is to serve as a referral hospital for non-COVID-19 patients currently admitted to shore-based hospitals, which will allow those facilities to focus their efforts on COVID-19 cases.

“The white hull and red cross of this ship have been a welcome sight around the world, standing at the forefront of our humanitarian mission,” Modly said. “And now this great ship is serving our own people in this time of need, providing critical surge hospital capacity to the people of Los Angeles.”

Mercy’s personnel include a Navy medical and support staff assembled from 22 commands, as well as over 70 Civil Service mariners.

It is equipped to serve as as an acute surgical medical facility during times of war, as well as to provide full hospital services to support U.S. disaster relief and humanitarian operations worldwide.

— Staff report

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