Sailors perform a surgery aboard the USNS Mercy on Thursday. Navy photo

Two more crew members aboard the San Diego-based hospital ship USNS Mercy tested positive for COVID-19, bringing the total to three, a television station reported Friday evening.

The three medical treatment facility crew members are in isolation off the ship in the Los Angeles area, according to KCAL9. Fifty-three others have also been taken off the ship as a precaution.

The Navy first reported that a crew member had contracted the virus on Wednesday but said the incident will “not affect the ability of the Mercy to receive patients,” according to NBC4.

The ship, docked at the Port of Los Angeles, is serving as a referral hospital for non-COVID-19 patients admitted to shore-based hospitals in Los Angeles. It provides a full spectrum of medical care, including 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

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Chris Jennewein

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