Long Beach authorities are thinking of using the historic ocean liner, Queen Mary, as a care facility for coronavirus patients, as the city prepares for the arrival of more patients. The sudden influx of patients may overwhelm local hospitals.
Chelsey Finegan, the city’s spokesperson, told KTLA that they are fixing care facility plans to ensure that they remain prepared to serve the community’s needs. They are still considering the Queen Mary, and will announce their plans in the future.
According to Finegan, the city of Long Beach is still discussing how they can use the retired ocean liner. However, they wouldn’t comment on whether the ship is being considered for those that don’t have the COVID-19 virus, or as a medical facility.
The Long Beach Post, while citing many unnamed sources, said that the ship can become a convalescent area for people who no longer require intensive care. The publication was the first one to report on the ship’s potential role in the coronavirus pandemic.
The ocean liner Queen Mary was created back in 1930 in Scotland. Later on, it was retrofitted to carry thousands of troops during the second world war. In the 1960s, it was retired as a historic active liner and docked in the Long Beach port. Since then, it has served as a floating hotel, becoming a famous tourist attraction. It also exhibits venues and exhibits, and can host over 2,000 people.
If used for the fight against COVID-19, it wouldn’t be the only ship to take in patients amidst the pandemic in Southern California’s shores.
USNS Mercy, a 1,000-bed Navy hospital ship docked in the Los Angeles port, is used to take in non-COVID-19 patients, in order to ease the strain on the local hospitals.
As of Saturday, Los Angeles County had traced 5,277 coronavirus infections among its people. This includes 171 in Long Beach, CA. Three have already died, as per the county’s Department of Public Health.
As more coronavirus infections are reported by the hundreds every day, Los Angeles County has proved to be the focal point of the COVID-19 outbreak in California.
Long Beach authorities said that they are preparing for the influx of patients by putting up mobile hospital tents right outside local hospitals. They are also opening a rapid evaluation clinic at Long Beach City College Pacific Coast Campus, as well as a 100-bed field hospital with the Long Beach Sports Arena.
With all of these new medical sites, Long Beach will have over 400 beds to support the 1,400 beds in its hospitals. It’s not yet clear how many more the Queen Mary will add, in case it will be picked as a care facility.