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Field hospital that treated coronavirus patients in Central Park to close

A field hospital set up in New York City's Central Park to treat coronavirus patients will stop admitting new patients on Monday, said Mount Sinai Hospital, which ran the field hospital with the nonprofit Samaritan's Purse. A total of 315 patients were treated at the temporary facility, Mount Sinai said Saturday.

"While this crisis is far from over, this marks a significant turning point in the coronavirus outbreak in New York that gives us assurance that we are returning towards normalcy," Mount Sinai said in a statement.

Mount Sinai said it anticipated it would take about two weeks for the facility to close, about the same time it estimated that it would take Samaritan's Purse to wind down operations. 

The tent hospital was built to comply with New York Governor Andrew Cuomo's order in March to increase hospital beds by 50% as New York City became the epicenter of the U.S. crisis. A temporary facility also opened up at Javits Center, which discharged its last patient on Friday, and the U.S. Navy ship Comfort, which initially had been set to treat non-coronavirus patients but eventually opened to those suffering from the disease as well. The USNS Comfort departed the New York Harbor on Thursday.

The field hospital in Central Park is pictured on April 16, 2020 in New York City. JOHANNES EISELE/AFP via Getty Images

The Central Park facility was not without controversy, though, as Samaritan's Purse was founded by preacher Franklin Graham, who has espoused anti-gay sentiments. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said on March 31 that the city would be monitoring the group to make sure it operated the field hospital in a way that is "truly consistent with the values and the laws of New York City." According to Gothamist, de Blasio said he had spoken to Mount Sinai CEO Dr. Ken Davis, who told him Samaritan's Purse had signed a written pledge to treat all patients equally.

Cuomo said Saturday that the number of deaths in the state on Friday ticked up slightly from the day before, while the number of new hospitalizations, considered the most effective way to measure the state's rate of infection, dropped to 831. 

There have been a total of 309,145 cases in New York state since the crisis began, and 18,909 deaths, according to CBS New York.

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