NEW YORK – A 68-bed emergency field hospital erected in Central Park is set to receive patients infected with the coronavirus starting Tuesday.
A team of 72 doctors, nurses and other health care workers from Samaritan’s Purse, an evangelical Christian disaster-relief organization, have mobilized at the Central Park hospital, which is equipped with 10 ventilators. A makeshift morgue has also been set up.
The hospital has partnered with New York’s Mount Sinai Health System and will prioritize moving overflow patients from the Brooklyn and Queens Mount Sinai branches so they can resume respiratory care treatment.
The hospital consists of 14 tents in the park’s East Meadow, a patch of open grass near Fifth Avenue and 97th Street along the park’s eastern edge. Across the street on Fifth Avenue sits one of Mount Sinai’s several medical campuses within the city.
“This is the kind of thing you will see now as this crisis develops,” New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said Sunday.
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A convoy of tractor trailers left Samaritan’s Purse’s headquarters in Boone, North Carolina, on Saturday. Staffers quickly unloaded temporary flooring and tarps in New York City and began to stake the tents in the grass. Once the tents were set up, staffers outfitted them with medical supplies and equipment.
New York City remains the epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States. As of Tuesday morning, the city was reporting more than 38,000 confirmed cases and 914 deaths, according to the Johns Hopkins University data dashboard. By comparison, the city has 232 more deaths than the entire country of Germany, according to Johns Hopkins.
Local hospitals have seen surges of patients with symptoms. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, de Blasio and other officials have called for help such as field hospitals to prevent the collapse of the health care system in the city. On Monday, a 1,000-bed Navy medical ship, the USNS Comfort, docked in Manhattan to alleviate the strain on local hospitals and will begin receiving non-coronavirus patients on Tuesday.
The hospital in Central Park is the second emergency field hospital Samaritan’s Purse has equipped, joining a branch outside of Milan, Italy, that has been in operation since March 20.
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