Update: The field hospital is now operational and receiving patients. For more content, including updated numbers, podcasts, more videos, and a list of all articles, please go to our COVID-19 landing page.
The Samaritan’s Purse DC-8 aircraft arrived March 17 in Milan, Italy, and our 32-member disaster response team is already preparing the Emergency Field Hospital to provide medical care during the coronavirus pandemic.
Our 68-bed respiratory unit is being set up in the Cremona Hospital parking lot to help care for an overflow of coronavirus patients. Samaritan’s Purse staff are working with the Italian Air Force and Lombardy Region Civil Protection Volunteers to unload the 20 tons of medical equipment transported by the DC-8 and to prepare the respiratory unit to receive patients.
Cremona Hospital has been forced to suspend all medical care except for maternity and pediatrics due to the overwhelming numbers of people suffering from this terrible disease. To date, no patients in the hospital’s intensive care unit have survived COVID-19.
The city of Cremona sits outside of Milan in the Lombardy region, an area reporting over 17,000 cases and nearly 2,000 deaths due to coronavirus–the highest death toll in Italy. There are more people needing intensive care in Lombardy than there are ICU beds available. Hundreds have died each day for the past several days.
Italy as a nation is now the epicenter of this coronavirus pandemic and is dealing with a staggering 35,000 reported cases, with over 4,000 noted just in the past 24 hours. Sadly, close to 3,000 Italians have died from the disease.
The country is now facing the largest number of cases reported in the world, second only to China. It also has the largest elderly population in Europe, and senior adults are among the most susceptible to COVID-19.
Samaritan’s Purse disaster relief personnel, including doctors and nurses, will stay in Italy for at least a month. They are ready to provide excellent, compassionate care in Jesus’ Name to those in desperate need.
In addition, our staff is working alongside local evangelical churches and chaplains to share the Good News of Jesus Christ.
Please continue to pray for our medical team and for those patients who are suffering from COVID-19.
Note: As we deploy to Italy, the Incident Management Team continues to monitor the developing situation and is prepared to respond elsewhere if asked.
Our infectious disease experts have been working in coordination with the World Health Organization to ensure the team is taking necessary precautions.
Whether airlifting our Emergency Field Hospital to Italy in the wake of disease outbreak, or responding to earthquakes and armed conflict, Samaritan's Purse stands ready to respond in the face of a myriad of medical crises. Your gift will help bring expert treatment, other basic needs and the hope of the Gospel to the sick and suffering.