A nonprofit organization called Samaritan’s Purse constructed makeshift hospitals right in Central Park’s North Meadow in March, and now they are being taken down.
The “nondenominational evangelical Christian” organization brought in doctors, nurses, and other medical personnel to serve coronavirus patients from the Mount Sinai Health System, according to an announcement on their website.
The hospital tents began taking patients when it first opened on April 1, but as coronavirus cases in NYC have fallen and hospitalization rates are down, they are no longer needed. The hospitals stopped taking new patients today, May 4, and will take about two weeks to finish up treatment, disinfect and take down the tents.
The hospital tents were set to provide 68 beds for respiratory care, and were set up in partnership with the Mount Sinai Health System and intergovernmental agencies. Their “first priority” was to move patients from Mount Sinai Brooklyn and Mount Sinai Queens.
Over the course of their time, they treated 315 COVID-19 patients, according to ABC 7.
They did run into some controversy, however. The organization apparently requires its volunteers to sign an affirmation agreeing “that marriage is exclusively the union of one genetic male and one genetic female,” which seemed at odds with the city’s values. Even New York City Council speaker Corey Johnson put out a statement regarding their presence a few days ago, encouraging them to leave the city:
My statement on Samaritan's Purse:
It is time for Samaritan's Purse to leave NYC. This group, led by the notoriously bigoted, hate-spewing Franklin Graham, came at a time when our city couldn't in good conscience turn away any offer of help. That time has passed. 1/
— NYC Council Speaker Corey Johnson (@NYCSpeakerCoJo) May 1, 2020
featured image source: Instagram / @samaritanspurse