Franklin Graham, the late son of televangelist Billy Graham, is using his charity Samaritan’s Purse to build a field hospital in New York City’s Central Park.
Samaritan’s Purse brought in four trailers worth of gear, including beds, tents, personal protective equipment (PPE), and ten respirators for the most seriously ill patients, the New York Post reported.
Dr. Elliott Tenpenny, who has experience treating Ebola patients in West Africa, refugees in Iraq, and earthquake victims in Ecuador, will be leading a team of 70 health care workers from across the country who will be staffing this field hospital.
“This is honestly the most improbable place we’ve ever been,” he told the Post. “I never would have guessed we’d come to New York City with something like this. But New York never thought it would be dealing with a pandemic, either.”
By 8 a.m., 20 volunteers from New York helped 50 Samaritan’s Purse employees set up the first of 14 tents. The tents will host 68 patients, including ten in makeshift intensive care units with ventilators available for every patient.
Construction is expected to take 48 hours, and the hospital is expected to be completed by Tuesday.
The field hospital will not take walk-in patients but will take overflow patients from the Mount Sinai hospital network, including its nearby hospital on Fifth Avenue.
Samaritan’s Purse is not the only outside aid group that is coming in to aid New Yorkers in their time of need.
The Navy’s USNS Comfort, which has space for 1,000 hospital beds and a dozen operating rooms, docked in a Manhattan pier at 11 a.m. after leaving Norfolk, Virginia, on Saturday is prepared to serve an onslaught of coronavirus patients.
New York state has 59,513 diagnosed cases of the virus, with 1,218 of them being fatal as of Monday afternoon. In New York City alone, there are 33,678 cases and 678 fatalities from the virus.