SAN PEDRO (CBSLA) — Cargo continues to move throughout all terminals at about 80 percent of expected operations, Port of Los Angeles officials said Monday.

Officials are making efforts to protect the port’s workforce against coronavirus shutdowns.

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“I want to thank Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and California Gov. Gavin Newsom for their leadership and decisive action last week to enact statewide stay at-home measures to help control the pandemic outbreak,” Port of Los Angeles Executive Director Gene Seroka said.

“Working together and with our partners in the private sector, we can fully leverage the strength of the port during this crisis.”

The port, operating at 80 percent of normal business, was down from about 85% last week and is moving about half the amount of cargo it did last year at the height of the trade war between China and the U.S.

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“It’s important for us to keep the supply chain fluid for essential commodities going to the American public, as well as medical supplies going to our health care professionals,” Seroka said. “But at the same time, we can’t let other commodities slow down the movement of these all-important goods.”

Seroka said the health of the port’s workforce is at the top of his priorities, and the U.S. Coast Guard has been conducting screenings of crew members docking in the LA Harbor area.

On Sunday, President Donald Trump called for the Navy vessel USNS Mercy, the world’s largest hospital ship, to deploy to the Port of Los Angeles.

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The Navy says the vessel has 1,000 beds. The staff on board will treat the novel coronavirus and other ailments.

“We will work closely with our neighbors there, Long Beach and others to make sure that is available to everybody no matter where they live,” LA Mayor Eric Garcetti said in a briefing Sunday.

The USNS Mercy departed Naval Station San Diego Monday for Los Angeles with about 800 Navy medical personnel onboard.

The ship also has 70-plus civil service mariners aboard who operate and navigate the vessel, load and off-load mission cargo, assist with repairs to mission equipment and provide essential services to keep the medical facility up and running.

Officials said they will provide regular updates on the coronavirus, and a video statement from Seroka can be seen on the port’s website at
portoflosangeles.org.

(© Copyright 2019 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)

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