Having successfully decompressed the health care delivery system in the Los Angeles region in response to COVID-19, the governor's Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES), in partnership with the U.S. Navy and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) announced on Thursday, May 14, that the USNS Mercy Hospital Ship will depart the Port of Los Angeles Friday, May 15.
While the vessel will depart to return to its home port in San Diego, medical personnel from the ship will remain in the Los Angeles region to support California's response requirements.
These crew members continuing their mission within the state include:
• Four, 6-member medical support teams to be deployed as needed within the region for critical needs including skilled nursing facilities.
• Forty medical staffers will remain at the state operated alternative care site established at Fairview Developmental Center in Costa Mesa.
While announcing the Mercy's departure, state officials thanked the federal government for their support and partnership in providing the ship to aid California.
"Our work to protect public health and safety is far from done but having the Mercy and its highly trained medical personnel stationed in the most populous region of the state was critical to our ability to respond in the first stages of the pandemic. We thank our colleagues in the U.S. Navy, FEMA and the federal administration for their support in allowing us to use the Mercy," said Cal OES Director Mark Ghilarducci.
"The medical professionals aboard Mercy are proud and humbled to have assisted FEMA, the state of California, Los Angeles County and the city of Los Angeles, while serving as a 'relief valve' to the community during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Every patient brought aboard created one more available bed in a local hospital," said Capt. John Rotruck, commanding officer, Medical Treatment Facility USNS Mercy (T-AH 19). "Although USNS Mercy is departing the Port of Los Angeles, a number of our medical treatment personnel will continue our mission in Los Angeles through their support to state healthcare providers at various skilled nursing facilities."
While at port in Los Angeles, the USNS Mercy admitted and treated non-COVID-19 patients from the area's land-based hospitals to bolster Southern California's hospital capacity during the coronavirus pandemic. Shore-based hospitals were then able to focus their efforts on meeting COVID-19 demands.
The Mercy has 1,200 medical personnel and the capabilities and equipment of a comparably staffed hospital. The ship's medical equipment includes one CT scanner, four radiology suites, 12 operating rooms, 1,000 patient beds, one isolation ward and 80 intensive care beds.
USNS Mercy spent 50 days at Port of Los Angeles, having first arrived on March 27.