Marking One Year: Fighting COVID-19 in Central Park

– To find more episodes of On the Ground with Samaritan’s Purse that cover the ministry’s first responses to COVID-19, dive deeper into March and April 2020 of the podcast.

Follow us on Instagram to see behind-the-scenes photos of our Disaster Assistance Response Teams in action in Cremona, Italy and New York City.

In April 2020, Samaritan’s Purse deployed a 68-bed Emergency Field Hospital to help meet the overwhelming number of coronavirus cases in New York City—which at that time was considered the epicenter of the pandemic. Since then, the ministry has continued to respond by providing critical medical care to over 900 patients.
In April 2020, Samaritan’s Purse deployed a 68-bed Emergency Field Hospital to help meet the overwhelming number of coronavirus cases in New York City—which at that time was considered the epicenter of the pandemic. Since then, the ministry has continued to respond by providing critical medical care to over 900 patients.

Show Notes

Last year at this time, Samaritan’s Purse launched a response to a brand-new pandemic: the novel Coronavirus. Relying on previous experience with infection prevention control (IPC) from fighting Ebola in 2014, the organization opened up two Emergency Field Hospitals in response to COVID-19: the first in Cremona, Italy and the next in New York City. This special episode looks back at how, one year ago, the Samaritan’s Purse Disaster Assistance Response Teams (DART) responded in Central Park, New York City. Kristy Graham introduces you to Ken Isaacs, the vice president of programs and government relations, and Shelly Kelly, an ICU nurse on our DART.

The episode begins with Kristy asking Ken and Shelly about the partnership with Mount Sinai Health System. Ken dives deeper into the ministry’s relationship with the hospital and its encouragement to our staff.

“I respect and admire all those who have come here to work in New York City and in Cremona during this time to help in Jesus’ Name. They’re dedicated to our mission, dedicated to serving, and dedicated to helping.” – Ken Isaacs

The coronavirus response in New York City was the first time Samaritan’s Purse has deployed the Emergency Field Hospital in the United States. Kristy discusses the difficulties and expectations of setting up the hospital with Shelly, who has served with Samaritan’s Purse for over seven years. Shelly is used to providing critical care in developing countries or locations devastated by natural disasters. While running an Emergency Field Hospital in the United States is different in many ways, the goal is still the same—providing the highest quality of care to patients in need.

Listen as Ken sheds light on the ways Samaritan’s Purse was able to minister to those serving in New York City. From the police force to local vendors, it was incredible to see the city coming together.

“This is a time where we’re stopping and realizing our frailty as humans. Prayerfully, we hope it turns our nation and globe to the Lord.” – Kristy Graham

Shelly explains the challenges that DART members faced as many left behind family and friends to fight the infectious disease. With two Emergency Field Hospitals being operational at the same time, there were nearly 200 DART staff serving simultaneously on the field. Like a family, they supported each other and prayed for each other during the unique and challenging time. Shelly expresses her gratitude for the wisdom and support the team in Italy had given to the medical team in New York City—sharing what they had learned and encouraging each other in the fight.

The episode wraps with Ken and Shelly lifting up prayer requests for patients and staff on the ground in Central Park, New York City. Thank you for continuing to partner with us in prayer and support for our teams around the world combating COVID-19.

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