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Queen Mary might be used to help with coronavirus medical response, Long Beach says

Tribune News Service logo Tribune News Service 4/5/2020 By Alex Wigglesworth, Los Angeles Times

LOS ANGELES — Long Beach is considering using the Queen Mary as some type of medical facility as it battles the spread of the coronavirus, officials say.

Although few details were provided, the city said in a statement Saturday that the use of the historic attraction and hotel docked in Long Beach Harbor was under consideration.

“Long Beach has received an outpouring of individuals and businesses interested in supporting to combat the COVID-19 public health emergency,” officials said in the statement. “The City is coordinating plans regarding care facilities and more to ensure that we remain prepared to serve the needs of our community. The Queen Mary remains in consideration, and we will have a plan to announce in the future.”

As of Saturday, the city had 198 cases and three deaths.

To the west, in San Pedro, the Navy hospital ship Mercy arrived last week to help. The Mercy has roughly 800 medical staffers, 1,000 hospital beds and 12 operating rooms. The ship will house patients who do not have COVID-19 in an attempt to free up regional hospital beds for those who do. Just 17 patients were being treated there as of Friday, but officials said a number of hospitals were in the process of identifying more people who were suitable to be transferred.

News of the Queen Mary’s possible role in the fight against the coronavirus, first reported by The Long Beach Post, came a day after Long Beach announced that a temporary field hospital with 100 cots had been staged inside Long Beach Sports Arena and was ready to take patients from area hospitals if needed.

“We are doing everything in our power to prepare for the medical and hospital surge in the weeks ahead,” Mayor Robert Garcia said Friday. “We’ve added hospital and clinic capacity by hundreds of beds and we will continue to do so.”

On Monday, a walk-up clinic will open at the Long Beach City College, Pacific Coast Campus to provide medical assessments to people who might normally visit an emergency room.

The clinic and the field hospital will be staffed by members of the Long Beach Medical Reserves Corps, the city said.

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©2020 Los Angeles Times

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