Coronavirus: US Navy ship en route to Los Angeles to ease burden on area hospitals

SAN PEDRO, Calif. (KABC) -- The Port of Los Angeles is preparing for the arrival of a massive navy hospital ship to help area hospitals amid the growing coronavirus crisis.

The 1,000-bed U.S. Navy Ship Mercy left San Diego on Monday with 800 medical personnel and support staff aboard.

RELATED: Coronavirus Southern California update: LA County death toll rises

In a tweet, Navy officials said the ship will not be used to treat COVID-19 patients. Instead, it will handle other cases, easing the burden on Los Angeles hospitals treating patients infected with the virus. Assistance from the ship will free up resources, such as ventilators and intensive care units.

According to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Mercy should arrive at the Port of Los Angeles sometime Thursday morning.

WATCH: US Navy ship set to dock in Los Angeles, bringing relief for area hospitals
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The Port of Los Angeles is preparing for the arrival of a massive navy hospital ship to help as grapples with the growing coronavirus crisis.



Meanwhile, President Donald Trump said the federal government is sending the National Guard to California and other hard-hit states like New York and Washington in response to the coronavirus crisis. FEMA will fund its deployment.

"The federal government has deployed hundreds of tons of supplies from our national stocks pile to locations with the greatest need in order to assist in those areas," Trump said during a Sunday evening press briefing.

These supplies include gloves, medical beds, N95 masks and gowns and will be delivered within the next 48 hours, Trump said. This includes 1,000 additional hospital beds for New York.

RELATED: Trump to send National Guard to California, New York, Washington

The USNS Mercy is one of only two 1,000-bed medical ships in the Naval fleet. The other, the USNS Comfort, is being sent to New York

As the potentially deadly infection continues to grip the region, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti voiced concerns over the behavior of some Los Angeles residents.

"This is serious. Six feet matters," Garcetti said.

Garcetti's stern words came after seeing weekend images of crowds at Southern California parks and beaches being social but not keeping their distance from each other.

"Too many people too close together too often. The longer we do that the more people will get sick and the more people will die," said Mayor Garcetti.

The mayor announced tougher restrictions.

RELATED: Coronavirus: LA Mayor Garcetti shuts down beach parking, recreation facilities

Starting Monday, group sports and recreation at parks, the Venice Beach boardwalk and public golf courses are banned under the 'Safer at Home' order. Garcetti promised he won't hesitate to take more steps.

"I believe in four million and 10 million people and 19 million people in this region, county and city, and where they aren't, we absolutely will bring government to bear. This is a crisis about saving lives, not doing whatever you want," Garcetti said.
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