LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Naval hospital ship USNS Mercy began seeing carefully screened non-coronavirus patients Saturday in Los Angeles, according to the U.S. Navy website.
The Navy says state and local officials are choosing who to transfer to the facility as they work to ease the pressure on L.A. hospitals slammed by patients.
The hospital ship, whose mission to ease pressure on hospitals treating coronavirus patients, is being echoed on the East Coast, where USNS Comfort left Virginia to head for New York, the epicenter of the U.S. coronavirus outbreak.
Like the Mercy, the Comfort will treat non-coronavirus patients who need urgent care. The comfort has 1,000 beds, 12 operating rooms, four radiology suites and 1,200 Navy medical and communications workers.
“Importantly, by treating non-infected patients remotely on the ship, it will help to halt very strongly the transmission of the virus,” President Donald Trump said. “The Comfort’s sister ship on the west coast, the USNS Mercy arrived ahead of schedule. It’s performing a similar mission for the people of Los Angeles and the people of California.”
Meanwhile, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is urging residents of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut to “refrain from non-essential domestic travel
” starting immediately, after President Donald Trump said he decided a quarantine was not necessary on the three states.
A federal quarantine quickly became controversial, with New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo calling it a potentially illegal “declaration of war” on the three states.
“I don’t even know what that means, I don’t even like the sound of it,” said Cuomo.
Trump said the CDC travel advisory does not apply to essential industries like financial services, trucking, public health and food supply.