The hospital ship USNS Mercy arrived in Los Angeles, California, on Friday after departing Monday from Naval Base San Diego.
“The men and women of the USNS Mercy and the United States Navy are honored to be here in Los Angeles supporting FEMA, the state of California, and the city in their ongoing Covid-19 relief efforts,” Rear Adm. John Gumbleton, commander of the Expeditionary Strike Group Three, said in a statement Friday.
The vessel, which has 1,000 hospital beds and more than 800 Navy medical personnel and support staff, will be treating non-Covid-19 patients to allow local health professionals to treat those suffering from the virus.
Originally, it appeared the Mercy would head to Seattle, but Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Peter Gaynor said the ship would stay in California.
“Even though there are more cases right now in Washington, the projected needs for beds in California is five times more that of Washington,” Gaynor said Sunday.
Washington state currently has reported more than 2,500 Covid-19 cases, while California now has reported nearly 3,000, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The hospital ship USNS Comfort, based in Norfolk, Virginia, will also be providing assistance amid the coronavirus pandemic. President Donald Trump will head to Norfolk on Saturday to “bid bon voyage” to the ship as she departs for New York City, according to the White House.
The Comfort, which was undergoing maintenance in Norfolk, is departing earlier than expected. Last week, Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Hoffman predicted that the Comfort would head to New York within a few weeks.
New York has been plagued with Covid-19 cases. As of Friday, the CDC reports there are nearly 33,000 confirmed cases in New York.