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Samaritan’s Purse charity opened its 68-bed field hospital in New York City’s Central Park on Wednesday to offer additional help for coronavirus patients.
“The Samaritan’s Purse Emergency Field Hospital is open and we accepted our first patient today,” Purse said in a statement to Fox News. “We are here to stand with New Yorkers and meet the needs of people stricken with the coronavirus.”
The field hospital is located across the street from Mount Sinai Hospital and is essential as the city battles with the heavy influx of coronavirus patients — the largest in the nation.
New York currently has 83,712 cases of COVID-19 and hospitals have surpassed bed capacities across the city’s hospitals and are short on necessary medical supplies such as protective N95 masks for medical workers and ventilators for ailing patients. To date, 1,941 New Yorkers have died of the virus.
The Central Park Emergency Field Hospital opened days after workers began erecting it near the park over the weekend.
A couple pauses to take a picture of the Samaritan’s Purse field hospital as they walk their dog in New York’s Central Park, Wednesday, April 1, 2020. The new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms for most people, but for some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness or death. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)
Samaritan’s Purse, the nondenominational evangelical Christian organization, has been operating a similar facility in Cremona, Italy, and began taking patients two weeks ago. The organization is led by Franklin Graham, the son of the late televangelist Billy Graham.
The New York City location will be staffed by 76 disaster response specialists, including doctors, nurses, paramedics, lab technicians, and other critical support personnel.
“In order to meet the needs of the coming surge, we must work as a united front in order save as many lives as possible. We are grateful for the collaboration with Samaritan’s Purse who have come to the aid of the people of Italy and now New York. Through this partnership, we are leveraging our collective resources to care for our patients and community,” Margaret Pastuszko, Executive Vice President for the Mount Sinai Health System said in a statement.
Mt. Sinai denied the need for the field hospital was because of overloaded facilities and said they were instead essential in offering advanced care to COVID-19 patients.
The first patient treated at the field hospital was in need of a critical care bed, which was not available in the hospital, a spokesperson for Mt. Siani told Fox News.
Fox News’ Maria Paronich contributed to this report.