“I couldn’t be more proud of our crew for all the hard work they did to get us here and ready in such a short time,” Capt. John Rotruck, the commander of the Mercy, said in a statement. “Being able to accept our first patients is a true testament of the teamwork between Mercy, the Navy, the State of California, the county of Los Angeles, and the City and Port of L.A.”
Photos released by the Navy on Sunday show sailors transporting a patient to be admitted on the hospital ship.
The first patients to arrive on the ship can be seen being attended to by sailors inside.
"#USNSMercy is open for business!" the U.S. Navy tweeted Monday morning.
Other images show sailors making final preparations on Sunday, wearing protective gear as they prepared for the arrival
While docked in Los Angeles, Mercy will serve as a referral hospital for non-COVID-19 patients currently admitted to hospitals on land. The Navy said the ship will provide a "full spectrum of medical care," including general surgeries, critical care and ward care for adults.
Rotruck told "Fox & Friends Weekend" the ship acts as a "relief valve to local hospitals" that can focus on coronavirus patients.
“Five days after the activation order, we set sail,” he told "Fox & Friends Weekend," adding that once the ship arrived in Los Angeles, “we were ready to see patients,” especially because crew members did “a lot of team training” while they were en route to the nation's second-largest city.
The features onboard the Mercy include 12 fully-equipped operating rooms, a 1,000 hospital beds, digital radiological services, a medical laboratory, a pharmacy, an optometry lab, a CAT-scan and two oxygen-producing plants.
The Navy's hospital ships – Mercy and sister ship on the East Coast, USNS Comfort – are equipped with a helicopter deck capable of landing large military helicopters and also have side ports to take on patients at sea.
USNS Comfort is deploying to New York, an epicenter of the nation's coronavirus crisis.
When fully operational, the hospital ships have a crew of about 71 civilians and up to 1,200 Navy medical and communications personnel, depending on the mission.
“The men and women embarked on board Mercy are energized, eager, and ready to provide relief to those in need,” Rotruck said Sunday.
Fox News' Talia Kaplan contributed to this report.