After 48 hours of nonstop construction, the Central Park hospital will be operational on Tuesday morning. It will have 68 beds, only for COVID-19 patients, whom doctors will transfer there from Mt. Sinai’s eight hospitals. Tenpenny expects the hospital to be full on the first day, as happened with a field hospital that Samaritan’s Purse built in Italy.
The Central Park hospital is small compared to the thousands of beds the Army Corps of Engineers set up in the Javits Convention Center, as well as the 1,000-bed hospital ship that just arrived in New York, the USNS Comfort. But the Javits field hospital and the hospital ship will serve patients who don’t have COVID-19, trying to offload cases from overwhelmed hospitals.
The Samaritan’s Purse hospital has about 70 medical staff. It includes an intensive care unit, male and female wards, and a sick bay for staff. There is a sleeping area for staff on call, a pharmacy, a lab with an X-ray machine, a supply tent, and a morgue. It covers about 50,000 square feet on Central Park’s East Meadow.
The large, heavy-duty tents are built to withstand the elements. The hospital will have electricity, which the local utility company Con Edison was wiring as the tents were going up. Will King, Samaritan’s Purse’s point of contact with the city, laughed about the terrible weather as they were setting up: “The mayor’s office even apologized for it.”