Central Park is no longer just for socially-distanced strolling, it's now the site of an emergency field hospital.
Over the weekend, Samaritan's Purse, a Christian relief organization led by Evangelical pastor Franklin Graham, set up the 14-tent, 68-bed hospital with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) with plans to use it for respiratory care for those who have COVID-19.
The hospital was trucked from North Carolina and built within 48 hours. Doctors, nurses, lab techs, water and sanitation experts and others are staffed there.
The hospital comes as New York City sees 1,000 coronavirus-related deaths.
"People are dying from the coronavirus, hospitals are out of beds, and the medical staff are overwhelmed” said Franklin Graham in a statement. "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."
Samaritan's Purse set up an identical hospital in Italy during its crisis.
Margaret Pastuszko, the executive vice president, chief operating officer, and chief strategy officer at the Mount Sinai Health System said the help is much needed and appreciated.
"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," she said. "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."
In recent days, Samaritan's Purse has been called out for its opposition to same-sex marriage, prompting May Bill de Blasio to "monitor" the situation there, according to the New York Post.
"I said immediately to my team that we had to find out exactly what was happening," de Blasio said. "Was there going to be an approach that was truly consistent with the values and the laws in New York City, that everyone would be served and served equally? We’ve received those assurances from the organization.
"I spoke earlier today with the CEO of the Mount Sinai system, Dr. Ken Davis, who was adamant that they will only continue their relationship with the organization if those rules are followed, that they have a written agreement, that there’s going to be no discrimination whatsoever."
The Samaritan’s Purse building field hospitals which will serve as overflow for Mount Sinai’s COVID-19 patients. #COVID19 #NYC #CentralPark #SamaritansPurse #WPIXAir11 @PIX11News pic.twitter.com/B7s6QyfVUS— Bert Gonzalez (@Air11Bert) March 31, 2020