An indoor soccer field owned by Columbia University is about to become the latest field hospital to treat patients battling the coronavirus.
When school is in session, especially during winter, this domed athletic complex is where Columbia University’s varsity soccer team comes to practice.
But as you can see from all of this construction, special flooring, beds for patients, and other amenities are being assembled quickly to create a temporary field hospital that can care for up to 288 COVID-19 patients.
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“We really see this as just an additional resource for New York and New Yorkers and we’re all doing our part to meet the needs of people who rely on us,” said Dr. Laureen Hill, who is the chief operating officer for New York Presbyterian, Columbia University Irving Medical Center.
She says this temporary field hospital on West 218th Street is designed to provide care for COVID-19 patients with mild symptoms.
Those who require ICU treatment would likely be cared for at her hospital’s permanent location in Washington Heights.
“We’re working as a system to say this won’t care for everyone, but we have a facility that can manage sicker patients,” Dr. Hill said. “This one will take care of the patients that will require a slightly decreased level of care, but they’re not anywhere ready for discharge.”
This new temporary hospital will be run by physicians, nurses and medics who are all former military.
That includes retired military physician, Melissa Givens, a colonel who is overseeing the recruitment of military medics.
“I have a veteran network that I thought I could reach out to and partner with Presbyterian in filling that need. So it’s kind of a win-win,” said Colonel Givens. “We’re able to let veterans do what they love to do and that’s run at the sound of gunfire, and the gunfire is coronavirus. Here we come and we’re here to help.”
Over the past few weeks, temporary field hospitals including the Javits Center, and the Billie Jean King National Center Tennis have been opening across the city to help with the influx of patients battling COVID-19.
Colonel Givens believes her field hospital stands out.
“I think there was also a unique need here. There’s a lot of former military and medical personnel in the unlisted community that don’t have civilian credentials because of how we train in the military,” Colonel Givens. “So they can’t find jobs in the civilian world because they’d have to go back to school. This opportunity allow us to employ them as a workforce and it’s a completely untapped resource that nobody had thought about.”
This new temporary hospital is expected to welcome its first patients on Tuesday.