Democratic Leader Urges Newsom to Take Action
A Democratic leader on the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors is urging California Governor Gavin Newsom to summon the USNS Mercy to return to the Port of Los Angeles. Supervisor Janice Hahn is asking Newsom to bring back the Navy hospital ship in an effort to provide much-needed relief to overworked health care workers in the region.
California COVID-19 Cases Surge, Necessitating Request for Help
Hahn sent the letter to Newsom as a plea for help in support of the SEIU 721. Representing over 95,000 workers, this union is the largest of its kind in Southern California. In the letter dated December 29, Supervisor Hahn said that the workers are overwhelmed and need backup immediately.
The Worst Is Yet to Come
Hahn cautioned the governor that the worst is yet to come. Hospitals all across the area are being forced to ration care as COVID-19 cases grow at exponential rates. Many hospitals have been stretched to capacity as a result of the surge, particularly in their ICUs. Despite Southern California being under stay-at-home orders since December 4, cases in the region continue to grow.
USNS Mercy Previously in LA
The Navy ship had previously docked in LA during the first surge of the virus last spring. The ship provided over 800 support and medical staff from the Navy as well as 1,000 beds to treat patients.
However, the current hospital system was able to withstand the spring surge, and the Mercy only treated 77 patients over the course of seven weeks at the port. This is clearly not the case during this third wave of cases, necessitating the call for action to Newsom.