As COVID-19 cases are rising in nearly every state in the U.S., the Christian disaster relief organization Samaritan’s Purse has announced the opening of two emergency field hospitals — one in North Carolina and the other in California — to care for people suffering from the disease.
Samaritan’s Purse has opened an Emergency Field Hospital in Lenoir, North Carolina, and is preparing to open one in Lancaster, California, as “a steady influx of patients” is expected to arrive “over the next several days,” the group, led by evangelist Franklin Graham, said.
Last Thursday, the country reported more than 4,100 deaths due to COVID-19, and on Friday, 300,594 new cases were reported, both single-day records, according to The New York Times. Thus far, more than 374,000 people have died from the novel coronavirus in the U.S., according to Johns Hopkins University Coronavirus Research Center.
In Lenoir, the evangelical humanitarian group’s medical team has started treating patients from surrounding communities, the organization stated, adding that the hospital is helping five regional healthcare systems respond to a spike in COVID-19 cases.
North Carolina reported 8,833 new coronavirus cases Sunday, bringing the total to 623,188, according to ABC11.
“These hospitals have come to us for help because they are full, and case numbers continue to rise,” Graham said. “This is our home state, and we appreciate the frontline workers battling COVID day in and day out. We are glad that we can be there to help lift the load. Our medical team is going to help provide professional, compassionate, and quality care to every patient who is sent to us.”
“Caldwell UNC Health Care reached out to Samaritan’s Purse about partnering and setting up one of our field hospitals, and that is what we are doing,” said Edward Graham, assistant to the vice president of programs and government relations for Samaritan’s Purse.
In Lancaster, Samaritan’s Purse Disaster Assistance Response Team is already on the ground with more personnel to arrive in “the next couple days.”
More than 30,000 people have died of COVID-19 in California, which was recording an average of 481 deaths a day for the previous week, as of Sunday night, Los Angeles Times reported.
Samaritan’s Purse is setting up 50-plus beds to receive patients in the parking lot of Antelope Valley Hospital, where “the rooms and the wards are completely overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients.”
In Los Angeles County, where Lancaster is located, one person is dying from the coronavirus every eight minutes, the organization noted. “Of the more than 8,000 patients hospitalized, about 20 percent are in intensive care. Sadly, nearly 11,400 coronavirus patients have died so far in Los Angeles County.”
A DC-8 cargo jet was ready for an airlift on Monday to Southern California.
“The doctors and nurses themselves can’t get a reprieve,” said Edward Graham. “There’s no break, they don’t see the end of this and they’ve asked for help—along with the community leaders, the mayor, and the church leadership here.”
Samaritan's Purse had previously set up a field hospital in New York's Central Park last year. Doctors and other medical staff from the aid organization Samaritan’s Purse treated 333 coronavirus patients during their one month mission in New York City as part of the Mount Sinai Health System, and 190 of them were treated at the field hospital.