25,000 Medical Professionals Step Up to Handle Coronavirus Cases

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Gov. Gavin Newsom

Less than 24 hours after a call from Gov. Gavin Newsom last week, more than 25,000 medical professionals have applied to join California’s new Health Corps to support hospitals as they prepare for a surge in COVID-19 cases in coming weeks.

“I’ve never been more damn inspired in my life,” said Newsom said during a news conference Tuesday, March 31. “To see that number — just 25,000 yesterday, alone? Of professionals … that are willing to come out of retirement? To put their lives back on the line?”

The state this week announced the formation of the health corps, open to medical professionals who may not be actively working such as retirees or those needing to renew their license.

Needed health care workers include retired EMTs, medical assistants, paramedics, doctors, pharmacists, medical residents and nursing students, according to its website https://covid19.ca.gov/healthcorps/

Newsom said the enthusiastic response by medical professionals is particularly  inspiring, “knowing that the (personal protective gear) may not be there when they go back … into the hospital room.”

Those working in the corps will be paid volunteers and will receive malpractice insurance coverage, according to state officials. The corps’ budget is still being worked out, Newsom said Monday.

Newsom has issued an executive order that will temporarily allow retired doctors and nurses to return to work, broaden the duties that some nurses may perform and bring medical school and nursing students who are close to graduating into the workforce almost immediately. The governor’s order allows the state to waive licensing and certification requirements for certain medical professionals through June 30.

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