August 15, 2021
TO: Faculty, Staff, Students
FROM: Dr. LouAnn Woodward, Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs, Dean of the School of Medicine and COVID-19 Incident Commander
SUBJECT: Samaritan’s Purse Field Hospital to Deploy in Garage C
The COVID-19 situation is worsening in our state. Last week saw record numbers of newly identified cases and hospitalizations – including pediatric cases – and the need for ICUs have been at all-time highs for weeks. Mississippi hospitals, health care providers and public health officials are doing all we can to respond to the growth in cases and number of people whose COVID-19 symptoms require medical care, but we welcome any assistance.
Last week, a highly trained and experienced – and much appreciated – unit of physicians, nurses, respiratory therapists and other medical personnel were sent to Mississippi by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services at the request of the Mississippi State Department of Health. This Disaster Medical Assistance Team of about three dozen health care professionals deployed to UMMC made it possible for us to set up a mobile field hospital – a state asset that is a collaboration between us, the State Department of Health, the Office of the Governor and the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency – in Garage B. This respiratory therapy facility has already had a positive impact on us and other hospitals in Mississippi that need help in dealing with this active surge of patients with COVID-19. The federal medical detail who are in this facility are doing all they can and pushing every limit to care for Mississippians in need. And in the coming days, an additional tent will be established next to the current one in Garage B where people who are positive for COVID-19 can receive monoclonal antibody treatment. This is the best preventive medicine option available to lessen the chance that a case will get severe enough to require hospital-based care.
And today, I am happy to share that more help is on the way and has been in the planning stages for several days. Samaritan’s Purse, a Christian organization that provides medical aid to people and areas in need, has offered to come to Mississippi and assist with our state’s COVID-19 response efforts.
Samaritan’s Purse, in collaboration with UMMC, the Office of the Governor, MSDH and MEMA will deploy an Emergency Field Hospital and a team of specialized medical staff to provide supplementary ICU capacity in Garage C, located adjacent to the Children’s of Mississippi Sanderson Tower. The transport trucks arrived on campus approximately 4:30 p.m. today and set up of the field hospital will begin tonight with patient care to begin sometime the middle of this week. (A Campus Memo about closure of the bottom level of Garage C went out last night and can be found here.)
Samaritan’s Purse has deployed five similar Emergency Field Hospitals around the world — including New York City and Los Angeles County — since March 2020 in response to the devastating effects the pandemic has had on communities and health systems. Teams of doctors and nurses have treated more than 900 patients with COVID-19 at the respiratory care units while reminding them that they are not alone or forgotten.
Together, Samaritan’s Purse, UMMC and state agencies are monitoring the increasing numbers of cases of COVID-19 and related hospitalizations in Mississippi to assess the areas of greatest need. Samaritan’s Purse is ready to provide additional staffing and support as needed. We appreciate these two support efforts and welcome them to the fight against the devastating impact COVID-19.
More information will be shared with you and the public about the Samaritan’s Purse hospital in Garage C in the coming days.
Thank you to these two agencies for their assistance in providing health care services during this surge of COVID-19 in our state. And, certainly, THANK YOU for all you are doing to care for your fellow Mississippians. What you are doing matters and does not go unnoticed. You are #UMMCStrong.