USNS Mercy expected to arrive in Los Angeles Friday to help hospitals during COVID-19 pandemic

The Navy hospital ship USNS Mercy is on its way to Los Angeles to provide relief to the area's busy hospitals during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The ship departed Naval Station San Diego on Monday and is expected to arrive sometime Friday at the Port of Los Angeles.

The ship will provide an extra 1,000 beds to help alleviate the shortage in Southland hospital space.

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The ship and its staff will not treat patients with the coronavirus but will offer a broad range of medical and surgical support, with the exceptions of obstetrics and pediatrics, said Real Adm. Timothy Weber, the commander of the Naval Medical Corps Pacific and director of the Medical Service Corps.

The ship will serve as a referral hospital for non-COVID-19 patients admitted to shore-based hospitals and will provide a full spectrum of medical care including general surgeries, critical care and ward care for adults.

"All of our patients are going to be interhospital transfers from local hospitals in the LA area," Captain John Rotruck said on Good Day LA Thursday morning.

The Mercy's presence will allow Los Angeles-area health professionals to focus on treating coronavirus patients and for shore-based hospitals to use their intensive care units and ventilators for those patients, Weber said.

RELATED:, FOX launches national hub for COVID-19 news and updates. 

CNS contributed to this report.