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USNS Mercy crew member tests positive for COVID-19

The ship is serving as a referral hospital for non-COVID-19 patients admitted to shore-based hospitals.

LOS ANGELES COUNTY, Calif. — A crew member aboard the USNS Mercy hospital ship tested positive for COVID-19, according to a Navy Public Affairs Officer.

"The COVID-positive crewmember is currently isolated aboard the ship, and will soon transfer to an off-ship isolation facility where they will self-monitor for severe symptoms," the Navy Public Affairs Officer said to News 8 in a statement. 

The incident will not affect the ability for Mercy to receive patients, according to the statement. 

"The ship is following protocols and taking every precaution to ensure the health and safety of all crewmembers and patients on board," said the officer.

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The ship is serving as a referral hospital for non-COVID-19 patients admitted to shore-based hospitals, and provides a full spectrum of medical care to include general surgeries, critical care and ward care for adults, according to the Navy.

The ship's presence allows local health professionals to focus on treating COVID-19 patients and for shore-based hospitals to use their intensive care units and ventilators for those patients.

The 1,000-bed ship is staffed by more than 800 Navy medical personnel and support staff, and 70-plus civil service mariners who operate and navigate the ship, load and off-load mission cargo, assist with repairs to mission equipment and provide essential services to keep the medical facility running.

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