USNS Mercy arrives in Los Angeles
The USNS Mercy arrives at a cruise ship terminal at the Port of Los Angeles. Navy photo

A crew member aboard the San Diego-based hospital ship USNS Mercy is to be transferred to an isolation facility on shore after testing positive for COVID- 19 on Wednesday.

The “medical treatment facility crew member” is currently in isolation on the ship, which is docked in Los Angeles, according to local television station NBC4.

The incident will “not affect the ability of the Mercy to receive patients,” a Navy official told NBC4.

“The ship is following protocols and is taking precautions to ensure the health and safety of all crew members and patients on board,” an official told the station.

The ship is serving as a referral hospital for non-COVID-19 patients admitted to shore-based hospitals, and provides a full spectrum of medical care to include general surgeries, critical care and ward care for adults, according to the Navy.

The ship’s presence allows 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.

The 1,000-bed ship is staffed by 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.

— City News Service

Chris Jennewein

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