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Navy Hospital Ship, USNS Mercy Can’t Be Deployed Despite The Surge Of COVID-19

It was during the initial outbreak of the coronavirus in March, the Military Sealift Command hospital ship USNS Mercy departed aboard with non-COVID-19 patients.

The departure of the 1000-bed hospital ship majorly aimed to bring help to hospitals in Los Angeles during the surge of patients.

Navy Hospital Ship, USNS Mercy Can’t Be Deployed Despite The Surge Of COVID-19

However, the Navy officials said on Tuesday that the USNS Mercy is not likely to be deployed to help again anytime soon, despite the current escalation of contraction and deaths due to the coronavirus.

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USNS Mercy is presently undergoing its scheduled maintenance at a shipyard in Portland. The current maintenance work was planned monthly before it was deployed in LA but deferred due to the emergency.

The Spokeswoman for the ship’s command, Sarah Burford said that currently, they don’t have any plans to deploy USNS at any time in the present or near future.

She continued that for months the ship would be in its extended maintenance-which they are not sure how long- so it is not possible to get it underway right now. 

The response from the ship’s command came after LA County Supervisor Janice Hahn’s request to the federal government to bring the ship and its medical crew back to the Port of Los Angeles. Since the region is in the complicated situation of the post-holiday surge of the coronavirus. 

According to the statement from the Newsom office on Tuesday, the service unavailability of the ship was informed since it is in the dry dock. The federal government didn’t request the Navy for the deployment of the ship yet.

However, officials said that Newsom and the California Office of Emergency Services have asked the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the U.S defence department to acquire and deploy to additional hospitals and medical personnel immediately in Southern California.

The request was made for assigning a crew of 360 military medical personnel, 135 U.S. Health and Human Services Disaster Medical Assistance Team personnel, and additionally 50 FEMA personnel to bring the present federal request to increase more than 500 people.

If the ship comes to service, it should reach the port in San Diego with civilian mariners, before it would get ready for deployment. Then the country would be with assemblies of reservists and active-duty Naval medical personnel across it. 

For its mission in Los Angeles in March, the ship took 5 days to assemble the required supplies, medicines, equipment, and the medical team. Sarah Burford also said that once they are given the order, they would take five days to get the ship underway.

To ensure everything is moving finely according to the mission, a civilian mariners crew and a group of medical personnel from the Navy would be assigned for daily maintenance and handling medications, respectively, if the ship comes to the mission. 

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