Dozens of nonprofit workers and volunteers turned Central Park's grassy East Meadow lawn into an emergency field hospital.
The partnership between the nonprofit charity Samaritan's Purse, Mount Sinai Hospital, the state and the city is a response to the growing number of people who need access to critical life-saving health care as the coronavirus crisis deepens.
"We are going to bring our own staff, supplies and provide additional hospital for capacity for New York," said Dr. Elliott Tenpenny, emergency medicine doctor for Samaritan's Purse and the project lead at the site.
While tents were anchored to stakes driven into the ground, volunteers and staff working inside assembled the 68 beds dedicated for the treatment of COVID-19 patients, ahead of the expected peak in about two to three weeks.
This emergency field facility, equipped with oxygen and water, expands Mount Sinai's capacity.
Samaritan's Purse trucked in the tents and the other equipment needed to run this field hospital, including personal protective supplies, for the more than 60 doctors, nurses, and other professionals from across the country who will staff it.
One of the tents will house 10 ICU beds. Some were assembled Monday by New Yorkers volunteering to help out.
"As someone who prays, I've been praying on all of these beds. I don’t know who is going to be in these beds, but I just pray that they will recover," said Molly Morkoski, a city resident who learned about the volunteer opportunity through her church.
The emergency hospital tents will start accepting patients on Tuesday, but it won’t be a walk-in facility. Mount Sinai will still manage patient admissions and transfers.
Based in North Carolina, Samaritan’s Purse is a Christian-based disaster relief organization. It opened a similar 68-bed emergency facility in Cremona, Italy on March 20 to help treat patients sick with the coronavirus there. It plans to operate both locations as long as there is a need.
“We don’t have a defined time period. We hope it doesn’t have to be that long, as all of New York hopes it doesn’t have to be that long.“