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Mount Sinai Hospital in New York is working with a humanitarian aid organization to set up a field hospital in Central Park to help house the continuing influx of patients during the coronavirus pandemic.
The tents in Central Park are expected to have 70 regular beds and 10 ICU beds and will be open on Tuesday, a spokesperson for the hospital said. The hospital partnered with Samaritan's Purse, an evangelical Christian aid organization, to set up the field hospital, and photos showed construction well underway on Sunday.
“Samaritan’s Purse, in partnership with Mount Sinai Health System and intergovernmental agencies, are constructing an Emergency Field Hospital in East Meadow in Central Park to provide care for patients seriously ill with COVID-19,” a spokesperson for the hospital said in a statement.
Healthcare workers across the US have been preparing for the influx of patients and ringing the alarm over the lack of protective equipment and respirators needed to handle the expected high volume of cases.
In a press conference on Sunday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said he expects to see a high death toll from the virus in New York state. So far, 59,513 people have tested positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, and 965 have died in the state.
“I don’t see how you can read that and not see thousands of deaths,” Cuomo said.
A field hospital has also been under construction by the US Army Corps of Engineers at the city's Javits Convention Center. The temporary hospital is expected to open Monday with almost 3,000 beds, and it is planned to treat patients who do not have COVID-19 to free up hospitals to care for people with the disease.
According to its website, Samaritan's Purse has also helped set up a 68-person field hospital in Italy, another coronavirus hot spot.
The organization is headed by Franklin Graham, the son of evangelical pastor Billy Graham. It previously responded to the Ebola outbreak, and the group made headlines when an aid worker contracted the deadly virus in Liberia and had to be returned to the US for treatment.
In addition to the field hospitals, Cuomo also said in the press conference on Sunday that USNS Comfort, a naval hospital ship, will dock in New York on Monday and be available to house patients who have medical needs unrelated to the coronavirus.
“This is New York," Cuomo said. "We’ve made it through far greater things, we’re going to be ok.”