Samaritan’s Purse is opening a field hospital in western North Carolina to treat overflow patients suffering from the coronavirus.
The evangelical humanitarian relief organization headed by Franklin Graham will open a scaled-down 30-bed field hospital to help five small hospitals in the region treat COVID-19 patients.
It will be located in Lenoir, in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, on the grounds of Caldwell UNC Health Care.
North Carolina has seen a spike in coronavirus cases this month. As of Dec. 31, a record 3,472 people were hospitalized with COVID-19, according to the state Department of Health and Human Services, stretching some hospitals beyond capacity. Some 539,545 coronavirus cases have been reported in the state, and 6,748 have died.
Responding to need
Edward Graham, assistant to the vice president of programs and government relations for Samaritan’s Purse, said in a statement: “At Samaritan’s Purse, we respond to difficult circumstances around the world in Jesus’ Name. Right now, those difficult circumstances are in our home state of North Carolina — the hospitals are full and positive case numbers continue to climb. We want to help relieve the burden on the local healthcare system and bring surge capacity. I pray that God would use our doctors and nurses to show the love of Christ in this moment of need.”
Laura Easton, president and CEO of Caldwell UNC Health Care, expressed appreciation for the effort.
“On behalf of all the health systems participating in this effort, I’d like to thank Samaritan’s Purse for making this investment in the well-being of our communities. Planning for this added capacity now will help us provide the level of care our communities need as volumes continue to grow in our region,” Easton said.
The tent facility will take 48 hours to construct and will be ready to begin treating patients soon after. It will be limited to those who are COVID-19 positive but do not need the support of a ventilator.