LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Naval hospital ship USNS Mercy has arrived at the Port of Los Angeles to help relieve local hospitals staggering under an onslaught of coronavirus cases.
The massive floating hospital arrived in the port at about 8:30 a.m.
“This does feel like the cavalry has arrived,” Los Angeles County Supervisor Janice Hahn said.
Gov. Gavin Newsom, Mayor Eric Garcetti, and other local leaders and public health officials were on hand to visit the ship shortly after its arrival Friday.
The ship, which left San Diego Monday, will be used to treat non-coronavirus patients so land-based regional hospitals can treat those with COVID-19. California is expected to see a surge of cases in the coming weeks, with the state projected to need 50,000 hospital beds.
USNS Mercy has 1,000 beds, 12 operating rooms, and 800 Navy medical personnel and support staff. The floating hospital can provide a range of services, including critical care for adults.
Speaking in front of the massive ship Friday afternoon, Newsom said the recent 26% increase in the number of new coronavirus cases indicated the uptick many have predicted is underway.
“We now are seeing a spike that we were anticipating, that we were modeling, but that we were substantively preparing for,” the governor said.
Patients are expected to arrive at USNS Mercy by ambulance by Saturday morning.