(NEW YORK) — The Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City, the country’s largest gothic cathedral, will be turned into a temporary field hospital as the novel coronavirus hammers the city’s health care system.
Tents will be erected in the 600-foot-long nave and in the crypt. To start, there will be 50 hospital beds, but that could expand to 200, according to Samaritan’s Purse, an evangelical Christian organization that helped erect the Central Park field hospital.
“In the history and tradition of the Church, and following the example of Jesus, Cathedrals have long served as places of refuge and healing in times of plague and community crisis,” the Right Rev. Clifton Daniel III, dean of the cathedral, said in a statement. “The Cathedral of St. John the Divine is stepping up now, as we always have, to help support our diverse and beloved community and the community of doctors, nurses and volunteers risking their health and well-being in the service of the people of New York City in our hour of need.”
The site would be staffed by doctors and medical personnel from nearby Mount Sinai Morningside.
More than 1.4 million people have been infected with COVID-19, according to data compiled by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University.
Confirmed cases in the United States have surged to at least 369,069, the most of any country.
New York has recorded the most confirmed cases of any state, while New York City has seen the highest number of fatalities at more than 5,400.
Samaritan’s Purse, which is run by Rev. Franklin Graham, said it was working with the cathedral “to expand our capacity to treat patients with COVID-19.”
“Our goal is to do all that we can to prepare for an upsurge in cases, but we continue to pray that the virus subsides so that this hospital is never needed. We continue to stand with the people of New York in the fight against this vicious disease,” according to a statement from Samaritan’s Purse.
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