Crews Working Around The Clock To Build Field Hospital In Central Park To Handle Coronavirus Patients

People walking in Central Park.
Victor J. Blue / Getty Images

Crews in New York City are working around the clock to construct an emergency field hospital inside Central Park, a measure officials hope will help the city deal with the surge in coronavirus patients that has overwhelmed some hospitals.

As Spectrum News NY1 reported, the effort to build the hospital started early on Sunday as trucks filled with equipment parked along 5th Avenue and started to work on a 68-bed field hospital across from Mount Sinai Hospital. The report noted that work was set to continue around the clock until the estimated completion date on Tuesday.

The field hospital will contain a respiratory care unit with intensive care unit capabilities, noted Dr. Elliott Tenpenny, the team leader of the field operation. It will be staffed with highly trained doctors and experts in infectious diseases to deal with the most critically ill patients, the report added.

Tenpenny, who has worked with Ebola patients in Africa and earthquake victims in Ecuador, told the New York Post that he has never done anything like the Central Park emergency field operation.

“This is honestly the most improbable place we’ve ever been,” he said.

“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.”

The Spectrum News NY1 report added that patients at the Central Park field hospital will first be coming from the adjacent Mount Sinai Hospital System.

New York City has become the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak in the United States, with hospitals becoming overwhelmed with patients and medical staff sometimes forced to take extraordinary measures to make up for a lack of proper equipment. As the New York Post noted, photographs this week showed three nurses at Mount Sinai West hospital being forced to wear garbage bags as protection.

The images stirred controversy when a nursing manager, Kious Kelly, at that hospital later died of coronavirus. The man’s sister had told the New York Post that she believed he acquired the infection while working at the hospital. Others who work at the facility believe that the hospital was negligent.

“Kious didn’t deserve this,” one nurse said. “The hospital should be held responsible. The hospital killed him.”

Deaths for the New York City area neared 1,000 late on Sunday, with local officials say the worst is still yet to come as the virus continues to spread.