Christian humanitarian organization Samaritan's Purse has set up two emergency field hospitals in an effort to help combat the rise of COVID-19 cases in the United States.
The field hospitals are located in Southern California and North Carolina and hope to help alleviate pressure on area hospitals caring for patients with COVID-19, CBN News reports.
Earlier this month, a 30-bed respiratory care unit was opened next to Caldwell Memorial Hospital in Lenoir, North Carolina. A team of 46 disaster response specialists is now working with patients at the temporary hospital.
Another 50-bed tent hospital is now operating in Lancaster, California. Samaritan's Purse worked to open the site after Antelope Valley Hospital officials and the City of Lancaster reached out to them due to their overwhelming patient load.
Samaritan's Purse headquarters are based in California, not far from Lenoir.
Hospital workers and other volunteers from around Lancaster have come to help with the set-up of the hospital, according to Dr. Elliott Tenpenny, director of international health for Samaritan's Purse.
"When a group of five different health systems around the area ask us to come together to help them offload their burden, we were very happy to oblige and to help there ... We really feel like that’s our home and we want to help as much as possible," Tenpenny says.
"Folks like this (front-line workers), oftentimes, they feel like they’re on their own," says Tenpenny. "They feel like they’re on their own with no help from the outside. And when we’re able to come in and provide that help and provide that service, it’s really a blessing."
Tenpenny says their arrival in California was met with "a wonderful response" and says local leaders have been "gracious and helpful" to them while they've worked to set up their care unit in the hospital parking lot.
On Saturday, North Carolina surpassed 667,000 cases of COVID-19 with more than 8,000 deaths since March.
More than 30,000 have died of the virus in California. On Sunday, Samaritan's Purse reported one person in Los Angeles was dying every eight minutes due to the coronavirus.
More than 375,000 deaths due to COVID-19 in the U.S. have been recorded by the John Hopkins University Coronavirus Research Centre.
Earlier this week, a cargo jet of supplies was dispatched by Samaritan's Purse from North Carolina to Southern California.
Tenpenny is encouraging people to continue washing their hands, wearing masks, maintaining social distancing, and limiting gatherings.
"Greater than everything else is prayer," Tenpenny says.
He asks fr prayer for those who are sick, families who have lost loved ones, and the community.