2 more sailors on hospital ship Mercy test positive for COVID-19

Tribune Content Agency

SAN DIEGO — Two more sailors aboard the San Diego-based hospital ship Mercy have tested positive for COVID-19, bringing the total cases among its crew to three, a Navy spokesman said.

The Mercy is pier-side at the Port of Los Angeles. Its first case of COVID-19 among its crew was reported by The San Diego Union-Tribune on Wednesday.

The second sailor tested positive Thursday and a third was reported late Friday, said Cmdr. John Fage, a 3rd Fleet spokesman.

“The crewmembers are currently isolated off-ship and will continue to self-monitor,” Fage said in an email.

“The ship is following protocols and taking every precaution to ensure the health and safety of all crewmembers and patients on board.”

The Mercy left San Diego March 23 and arrived in Los Angeles four days later. Its mission is to relieve Los Angeles hospitals by treating patients who do not have COVID-19.

None of the three sailors came into direct contact with patients, Fage said. The Mercy has treated 40 patients in Los Angeles and, as of Friday, there are 18 on board.

One sailor on the Mercy, who works as a medical corpsman, told the Union-Tribune last week some sailors on board don’t think the Navy is doing enough to protect the crew from the novel coronavirus.

“We don’t feel like we’re being protected — we’re being thrown onto the front lines,” the corpsman said. “We weren’t tested (for COVID-19) and we’re treating patients that are old, sick and wounded.”

The sailor said medical crews are reusing N95 masks outside the recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — something the Navy denies.

There are more than 1,000 medical crew members on the ship. There are 30 who left the ship because they had come in contact with an infected crew member.


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