Disaster Response Team Begins Hospital Setup in Italy

March 18, 2020 • Italy

Samaritan’s Purse staff are quickly setting up an Emergency Field Hospital in Cremona, near Milan, in order to care for patients with COVID-19.

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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 staff are quickly organizing medical supplies

Our staff are quickly organizing medical supplies.

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, which has the highest death toll by far of any region within 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.

  • Once set up, our 68-bed respiratory care unit will serve those suffering from COVID-19.
    Once set up, our 68-bed respiratory care unit will serve those suffering from COVID-19.

Italy as a nation is now the epicenter of this coronavirus pandemic and is dealing with a staggering 41,000 reported cases, with over 5,000 noted just in the past 24 hours. Sadly, more than 3,400 Italians have died from the disease, a total greater than that reported in China.


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.

We are setting up our mobile medical facility in the Cremona Hospital parking lot.

We are setting up our mobile medical facility in the Cremona Hospital parking lot.

Please continue to pray for our medical team and for those patients who are suffering from COVID-19.

Notes: As Samaritan’s Purse deploys to Italy, our Incident Management Team continues to monitor the developing situation and is prepared to respond in the U.S. if asked.

Our infectious disease experts have been working in coordination with the World Health Organization and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to ensure our teams are taking necessary precautions.

Read an earlier article about the airlift to Italy.

Numbers in article updated as of March 19.

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We began today receiving patients at the respiratory care unit.
Emergency Medicine Your gift will enable Samaritan’s Purse to provide life-saving medical care (including doctors, nurses, respirators, and other essential equipment) in places where vulnerable communities are suffering in the wake of disaster or from outbreaks of infectious diseases like COVID-19. We also offer public health outreaches to prevent the spread of life-threatening illnesses. Most importantly, we are able to bring the Gospel message of eternal hope to those who are suffering and afraid.

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