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New York City Is Opening an Emergency Field Hospital in Central Park

Katherine McGrath

As the coronavirus continues to spread in New York City, authorities have begun setting up a makeshift hospital in Central Park as area hospitals hit capacity. Early Sunday afternoon, park-goers watched as workers set up long white tents in the East Meadow, near 99th Street and Fifth Avenue. The emergency field hospital will have a capacity of 68 beds, including a respiratory unit and an ICU, with doctors and nurses who are trained in infectious diseases deployed on a rotating basis, according to Dr. Elliott Tenpenny, who is in charge of the operation. It is the result of a partnership between New York’s Mount Sinai Hospital and North Carolina–based Christian organization Samaritan’s Purse, who helped build a similar temporary hospital in Northern Italy. This will not be a walk-in facility; instead, Mount Sinai will manage the admission and transfer process. As crews work around the clock, the makeshift hospital is expected to be ready to open on Tuesday.

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Workers set up a field hospital inside Central Park in front of Mount Sinai Hospital on March 29, 2020.
Photo by Kena Betancur. Image courtesy of Getty Images.

“This is the kind of thing you will see now, as this crisis continues and deepens,” New York City mayor Bill de Blasio told the media on Sunday. The makeshift field hospital in Central Park comes on the heels of news that the Navy hospital ship USNS Comfort (with 1,000 beds, a pharmacy, an optometry lab, radiology services, CAT-scan equipment, two oxygen-producing plants, a helicopter deck, and 12 operating rooms) will soon be docked at Pier 90. With the help of the U.S. Army, the city’s Javits Center is being converted into a field hospital with a capacity of nearly 3,000 beds, but when the makeshift hospital opens in the convention center, it will be used to treat patients not infected with the coronavirus, so as to dedicate the city’s hospitals to the treatment of those sick with COVID-19.

Originally Appeared on Architectural Digest