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Hospital ship USNS Mercy (T-AH 19) has started treating the first patients in Los Angeles in support of the US response efforts to contain the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.

While in LA, the USNS ship will continue to serve as a referral hospital for non-Covid-19 patients currently admitted to shore-based hospitals.

The vessel will provide a full spectrum of medical care to include general surgeries, critical care and ward care for adults.

This will permit local health professionals to focus on treating Covid-19 patients. It will facilitate the shore-based hospitals to use their intensive care units (ICUs) and ventilators for those patients.

Mercy Military Treatment Facility commanding officer Captain John Rotruck said: “I couldn’t be more proud of our crew for all the hard work they did to get us here and ready in such a short time.

“Being able to accept our first patients is a true testament of the teamwork between Mercy, the Navy, the State of California, the county of LA, and the City and Port of LA.”

With its personnel currently embarked for the LA mission, the seagoing medical treatment facility includes navy medical and support staff. The staff aboard Mercy comprises 22 commands and 70 civil service mariners.

The primary mission of the vessel is to provide an afloat, mobile, acute surgical medical facility that is flexible and adaptable to support expeditionary warfare.

Its secondary mission is to offer complete hospital services supporting the US military and US disaster relief and humanitarian operations across the world.