ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – COVID-19 continues to change the world around us from working at home to homeschooling and the changes are even greater for hospitals. For the Raymond G. Murphy VA Medical Center, that change can be seen just yards from the main hospital.
“We have the ability for each bed to have electricity if needed,” said Michelle Peacock, VA medical CTR nurse practitioner.
The scene looks like something that you’d see during a military deployment or disaster relief after severe weather wipes out a town. Several tents are set up an inside are 55 hospital beds set up in rows.
The site is located in Albuquerque, right near the VA Medical Center. Three weeks after the VA diagnosed its first COVID-19 positive patient, New Mexico’s worst-case scenario was projected to need tens of thousands of beds for COVID-19 positive patients.
Patients from the Navajo Nation are battling COVID-19 inside the VA hospital in Albuquerque.
“Our fourth mission for us has been to help the Navajo Nation,” said director of the Veterans Affair Healthcare System, Andrew Welch. “The Gallup Indian Medical Center has had quite a flurry of patients regarding COVID positive patients.”
The VA Healthcare System says every week, they conduct a phone call meeting with medical staff of the Navajo Nation to see which patients need to be transferred. The VA says it’s ready if they get a surge.
Outside the main hospital sits temporary hospital Camp Murphy, a temporary hospital equipped with all the necessities to take in more than 50 patients. However, the patients that could fill the tent hospital will not be fighting the coronavirus.
Last week, three of the hospitals seven COVID-positive patients came in from the Navajo Nation. They’re also monitoring more than a dozen other coronavirus patients.
The VA says Camp Murphy will only see non-COVID patients.