1st April 2020
Staff members are quickly setting up an Emergency Field Hospital in East Meadow in New York City’s Central Park to provide care for patients seriously ill with COVID-19. A 72-member Disaster Assistance Response Team, including doctors, nurses, and other medical personnel is now on the ground.
Coronavirus patients will be coming to us from our partner, the Mount Sinai Health System. The first priority is to move patients from Mount Sinai Brooklyn and Mount Sinai Queens.
Today volunteers from local churches are helping our staff set up the 14-tent, 68-bed respiratory care unit, which was prepared especially for this response to provide much needed support and to help save lives during the coronavirus pandemic. The field hospital, in partnership with Mount Sinai Health System and intergovernmental agencies, is expected to open on Wednesday.
“People are dying from the coronavirus, hospitals are out of beds, and the medical staff are overwhelmed,” said Franklin Graham, president of Samaritan’s Purse. “We are deploying our Emergency Field Hospital to New York to help carry this burden. This is what Samaritan’s Purse does—we respond in the middle of crises to help people in Jesus’ Name. Please pray for our teams and for everyone around the world affected by the virus.”
The U.S. is now reporting more than 156,000 active coronavirus cases—the highest total in the world. New York City is the U.S. epicenter for this terrible disease, which has already killed around 2,900 people /*–the country.
The situation in the city is dire, with the death total increasing daily. Earlier this week, a makeshift morgue was set up outside of a Manhattan hospital, the first of what is expected to come at other local hospitals as the crisis continues to escalate.
“Mount Sinai Health System is grateful for the partnership with the Governor and Mayor in their leadership and support in the fight against this pandemic,” said Margaret Pastuszko, executive vice president, chief operating officer, and chief strategy officer, Mount Sinai Health System. “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.”
Medical facilities are running out of beds in their intensive care units, as about 20 percent of all people who test positive in New York City are requiring hospitalization. Ventilators and critical medical equipment are also in short supply.
About 50 percent of all cases in the U.S. are coming from the state of New York, with the New York City metro area alone reporting about 800 deaths and more than 36,000 cases across its five boroughs.
Luther Harrison, vice president for Samaritan’s Purse North American Ministries, prayed with our staff before a convoy of tractor trailers left North Carolina on 28th March and began the drive to New York City.
“Lord, our name is on the side of these trucks, but more importantly, Your Name is on the side of these trucks. We commit ourselves and our mission to You,” he said.
“Our U.S. Disaster Relief team, international relief team, medical ministries—the whole organization—has come together for this response at the two epicenters of the disease,” Harrison said. “This is what it means to be the Body of Christ. We’re all coming together to represent the Lord, and every role is important. This whole team is committed to doing all they can to help people in Jesus’ Name.”
Samaritan’s Purse is also responding to the COVID-19 pandemic in Italy, the epicenter of the outbreak in Europe. We have another 68-bed Emergency Field Hospital set up in Cremona, outside of Milan. The facility, which opened on 20th March, is set up in the Cremona Hospital car park in order to treat an overflow of coronavirus patients.
We have more than 65 disaster relief personnel on the ground in Italy serving in Jesus’ Name.
The death toll across Italy has surpassed 11,000 lives, which is the highest total for any nation in the world.
In addition to our two respiratory care units, Samaritan’s Purse has also responded to the COVID-19 pandemic by donating personal protective equipment, which is in short supply and desperately needed. Earlier this week, we sent more than 50,000 face masks to hospitals in North Carolina, including 10,000 to UNC Health.
Please pray for our teams in both Italy and New York City. Pray also that God will soon bring an end to this deadly pandemic.