NORTH PHILADELHIA - The Liacouras Center at Temple University admitted the field hospital's first COVID-19 patient on Monday.
The building, which is located on the 1700 block of Broad Street in North Philadelphia, is outfitted with beds and supplies.
"They blocked the southbound side of Broad Street off," said John Marshall. He was shocked to see Temple's Liacouras Center cordoned off by fencing and emergency response vehicles parked all around.
"It's affecting everybody. It's a ripple effect," said Marshall.
Inside the arena has been transformed into what officials call a field hospital for patients recovering from the coronavirus. Those people are past the worst part of the illness but still in need of some care.
"These are patients that don't need ventilators but need medical supervision and they may need oxygen," Philadelphia Health Commissioner Dr. Tom Farley said. He adds patients can stay up to five days and will have 24-hour care by doctors, nurses and respiratory therapists.
"That staff is a combination of medical reserve corps volunteers, that would be medical staff from around the region who just volunteer their time to assist in the time that we need that as well as contracted staff and probably supplemented by staff from the military," said Dr. Farley.
Seeing this and knowing the need for it saddens Ray Willis.
"I just lost somebody close to me to this sickness," he said.
It's also what woke him up to the reality of what's going on.
"I'm not even going to lie to you. I was like I'm not worried about corona. I was going to work. I work at Target. Without a mask and everything. You see I got a mask on now," said Willis.
Field hospitals like this are needed as the virus continues to spread hospitals are at or near capacity or short-staffed. A patient will only be transferred to the Liacouras Center if a physician requests for those reasons.
"It's really serious. People got to wake up and care about your body," said Willis.
Officials want to point out this is not a testing facility. Officials also say if you’re sick with COVID-19 and want care call your doctor or go to a hospital emergency room.
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