Supervisor Janice Hahn Wednesday announced that she wrote Gov. Gavin Newsom a letter requesting that he work to bring Army National Guard medical personnel and the U.S.N.S. Mercy hospital ship to Los Angeles County amid a surge in COVID-19 patients.
Hahn declared her support for the Southern California Public Service Workers union’s request for additional healthcare workers to be sent to all hospitals in the county to help them handle the surge.
Hospitals specifically need registered nurses, licensed vocational nurses and respiratory care practitioners with the Army National Guard, according to Hahn.
“Our SEIU healthcare workers are exhausted and our hospitals are overwhelmed. They need backup,” Hahn said in the letter sent Tuesday. “This surge is the crisis that we dreaded all along. We need as much support as we can get for our healthcare workers, and we need the U.S.N.S. Mercy back in the Port of Los Angeles.”
According to Hahn’s office, Los Angeles County hospitals may have to ration care if COVID-19 hospitalizations keep rising and surpass the capability of staff and resources.
The 1,000-bed U.S.N.S. Mercy arrived at the Port of Los Angeles on March 27 to provide relief for Southland hospitals that were preparing for an anticipated surge of coronavirus patients in April. The ship was not brought in to treat COVID-19 cases, but to handle other patients and free up hospital beds for virus treatment.
It departed on May 15 for its home port in San Diego.
“I also ask that you call on our federal partners to bring back the U.S.N.S. Mercy with accompanying medical staff to the Port of Los Angeles,” Hahn said in her letter.
“Our public health experts warn that the worst is yet to come with the anticipated incoming Christmas and New Year’s holiday surge, so I urge you to act now and equip our hospitals with additional healthcare workers and resources to save as many lives as possible.”