Port of Los Angeles

3 USNS Mercy Crewmembers Test Positive for COVID-19

U.S. Navy/Petty Officer 1st Class David Mora

Three medical treatment facility crewmembers aboard the San Diego-based USNS Mercy have tested positive for COVID-19, according to Navy Public Affairs Officer Lt. Andrew Bertucci.

All three crewmembers are currently in isolation off-ship and will continue to self-monitor, Bertucci said Friday.

The first individual, reported Wednesday, was first isolated onboard before being transferred. The second case was confirmed on Thursday and the third was confirmed Friday, Navy Public Affairs Officer Lt. Joseph Pfaff said.

These positive cases will not affect the ability of the Mercy to receive patients, Bertucci said. Right now, the ship is treating non-coronavirus patients from Los Angeles-area hospitals to free up beds and resources for coronavirus patients.

"The ship is following protocols and is taking precaution to ensure the health and safety of all crew members and patients onboard," Pfaff said.

Anyone who boards the Mercy, which began accepting patients on March 29 after docking at the Port of Los Angeles, is tested for the coronavirus.

As of April 7, some 27 patients have been treated on the 1,000-bed hospital ship for things like gunshot wounds, heart failure, and pneumonia, but no COVID-19 cases, according to a spokesperson.

Although the Mercy’s primary mission is to provide a mobile and capable surgical medical facility to the U.S. Military, the ship has been mobilized to provide full hospital services in the event of a national emergency and to support U.S. disaster relief.

"We are honored to answer the call in this time of need," said Rear Admiral Tim Weber just before launch in March. "We are as the Mercy says, 'Steaming to Assist.'"

The Department of Defense released footage from inside the USNS Mercy, the Navy hospital ship docked in Los Angeles to help during the coronavirus pandemic.
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