Volunteer workers could be seen in Central Park on Sunday erecting tents for an emergency field hospital to treat COVID-19 patients, providing another grim visual reminder of the severity of the coronavirus crisis in NYC. The tents are being assembled in the East Meadow by international Christian relief organization Samaritan's Purse, to serve overflow from Mount Sinai hospital.
The Central Park field hospital will consist of 68 beds specially equipped with respiratory care, powered by generators. The first patients are expected to come from Mount Sinai Brooklyn and Mount Sinai Queens, according to a press release on Samaritan's Purse's website.
Melissa Nystrom, a spokesperson for Samaritan's Purse, said the field hospital will be staffed by more than 60 volunteer healthcare workers deployed from around the world.
“People are dying from the coronavirus, hospitals are out of beds, and the medical staff are overwhelmed,” Franklin Graham, president of Samaritan’s Purse, said in a statement on the group's website. “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.”
New York City currently has 32,308 confirmed cases of COVID-19, according to mayor Bill de Blasio, who announced on Sunday that the city's coronavirus death toll is now 678, with another 160 deaths reported between Saturday and today.
Reporting by Liz Kim.