Samaritan’s Purse delivers emergency field hospital to King Salmon

Published: Jun. 1, 2020 at 8:11 PM AKDT
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Samaritan’s Purse flew in an emergency field hospital to King Salmon, Alaska, on Monday.

The disaster relief organization used its DC-8 cargo plane to deliver what would become a 30-bed hospital, once set up.

“In Italy and New York City, we were able to help hundreds of people, and we’ll do the same right here in Alaska if it’s needed,” said Rev. Franklin Graham, who serves as president of Samaritan's Purse.

The aid organization airlifted the emergency field hospital in advance of a possible coronavirus outbreak in King Salmon at the request of the state.

“It’s the fear all of our elders who remember the days of the 1918 Spanish Flu, and their families were decimated,” said Mary Swain of Camai Community Health Center.

The concern of an outbreak for Bristol Bay communities has been heightened as fishermen and processors arrive to the area to work for the summer. With the population growing tenfold, Swain said the Samaritan's Purse delivery was a good fit since the city has minimal medical resources to treat a potential coronavirus outbreak. The additional resources come at a critical time for the region, Swain said, and her own clinic has seen two new cases of COVID-19 since Friday.

“It’s here," Swain said. "We know we can handle it, we know what it looks like, we know we can identify it if we need to."

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