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Samaritan’s Purse Opens Southern California Emergency Field Hospital

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International Christian Relief Organization Now Providing COVID-19 Surge Capacity In California and North Carolina

BOONE, N.C., January 16, 2021—Today, Samaritan’s Purse opened an Emergency Field Hospital in Lancaster, California, as coronavirus cases are at a critical level—with reports showing one virus-related death every six minutes in Los Angeles County. The 54-bed specialized respiratory care unit is being operated in partnership with Antelope Valley Hospital to relieve some of the burden faced by the region’s healthcare professionals. The hospital’s opening comes just nine days after the organization began accepting patients at a similar respiratory care unit in western North Carolina.

A team of more than 60 Samaritan’s Purse team members from across the country—including 40 medical professionals— are now caring for coronavirus patients in California.

“Samaritan’s Purse has responded in California more than a dozen times in the wake of natural disasters. Now, we are once again coming alongside west coast families in the fight against the coronavirus,” said Franklin Graham, president of Samaritan’s Purse. “I was just on the ground there this week, and it was a privilege to meet with the mayor of Lancaster and the CEO of Antelope Valley Hospital. I was so impressed with the way the city and hospital, along with our disaster response team, have worked together to be prepared to meet the needs during this recent spike. Please join me in praying for the leaders of this community, the patients in need, and for all frontline workers battling the virus.”

Antelope Valley Hospital and the City of Lancaster reached out to Samaritan’s Purse to request support as their hospital was over capacity. Now the Emergency Field Hospital, located in the parking lot of Antelope Valley Hospital, is fully operational. It is the third location in the United States with a Samaritan’s Purse field hospital.

“We experienced the surge of patients after each previous holiday, so we’re preparing and bracing ourselves for the surge resulting from the New Year’s Eve celebrations,” said Ed Mirzabegian, CEO of Antelope Valley Hospital. “With the added 50-bed capacity, the extra medical resources, and their talented medical staff, the help comes at a good time and will ease the weight from the main hospital. There’s help needed across the country, and we feel blessed Samaritan’s Purse chose our hospital and our city.”

“I am in awe at how quickly this field hospital became a reality. Once the call for help was made, City staff and local community members— in partnership with Samaritan’s Purse— came together to raise the field hospital in record time,” said Lancaster Mayor R. Rex Parris. “We still have a ways to go through this pandemic and the support of Samaritan’s Purse could not have come at a better time. This hospital will be crucial in reducing the burden on our local healthcare system. The health and safety of our community is our top priority, and the City Council and I are so grateful to Samaritan’s Purse, Antelope Valley Hospital, Lancaster Baptist Church, and all of

our local volunteers who have been instrumental in making this happen for Lancaster. Lancaster is truly blessed and I am truly grateful.”

This field hospital marks the fifth unit that Samaritan’s Purse has deployed specifically in response to COVID-19— responding to virus hotspots in northern Italy, New York City, the Bahamas, and western North Carolina.

Based in Boone, North Carolina, Samaritan's Purse responds to the physical and spiritual needs of individuals in crisis situations in Jesus’ Name—especially in locations where few others are working. Led by President and CEO Franklin Graham, Samaritan’s Purse works in more than 100 countries to provide aid to victims of war, disease, disaster, poverty, famine and persecution. For more information, visit SamaritansPurse.org.

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