SAN DIEGO -- A Navy ship with its home port in San Diego will be used to help hospitals care for a potential surge of patients from the coronavirus outbreak, President Trump confirmed in a news conference Wednesday.
The Pentagon is loading medical personnel and equipment onto the USNS Mercy, based at Naval Base San Diego, with plans to use the hospital ship for overflow patients from medical centers on the West Coast. Meanwhile, the USNS Comfort in Virginia will provide similar service on the East Coast, according to USNI.
"Two sources told USNI News that the idea was for the ships to provide relief for coastal hospital systems, with the ships taking on non-COVID-19 cases and allowing the hospitals to focus on the most critical patients suffering from the virus," the organization reports. "The Pentagon also has extensive equipment for erecting field hospitals in addition to the hospital ships, but those facilities are optimized for trauma cases, with several beds close together, and not for infectious patients."
In an update from the White House coronavirus task force Wednesday morning, Trump confirmed the plan.
Mercy and Comfort each have 1,000 beds and will be staffed by military medical personnel, USNI reports. Those workers are expected to be pulled from both active duty and reserve forces, including some who work at civilian medical facilities.