Phil Helsel19h ago / 7:19 AM UTCThe Navy hospital ship USNS Mercy is expected to arrive in Los Angeles on Friday to support medical systems amid the coronavirus epidemic.President Donald Trump on March 18 said two hospital ships — the other is the USNS Comfort, which departs Virginia for New York City on Saturday — would be deployed to help in the outbreak.The Mercy set sail from San Diego this week. The Defense Department says the ship can hold up to 1,000 hospital beds, which will reduce the burden on regular hospitals that have to handle COVID-19 patients.COVID-19 is the illness caused by the coronavirus. In Los Angeles County, the number of cases grew to 1,216 Thursday, including 21 people who have died, the health department said. There had been 559 new cases confirmed in the past 48 hours, and the department said the large increase was in part due to greater testing capacity that is allowing officials to identify cases.Preparing for tomorrow’s arrival in Los Angeles.#USNSMercy deployed in support of the nation’s COVID-19 response efforts and will serve as a referral hospital for non-COVID-19 patients, allowing shore base hospitals to focus their efforts on #COVID19 cases. pic.twitter.com/1P211fWpoc— U.S. Navy (@USNavy) March


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