In just one day, tens of thousands of licensed health professionals signed up for Health Corps, a California initiative to enlist retired doctors and nurses, as well as medical students, in response to the COVID-19 outbreak.
The state launched the program on Monday, and at a press conference on Tuesday Gov. Gavin Newsom said over 25,000 licensed individuals had filled out paperwork through the Health Corp website.
“That was extraordinary — in less than 24 hours,” Newsom said.
He added that the response left him feeling “inspired,” especially considering the current shortage of personal protective equipment in the health care system around the state.
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The Health Corps site calls for a variety of medical professionals to enlist, including physicians, pharmacists, dentists, nurses, respiratory therapists and behavioral health professionals. Approved individuals will be paid for their work.
Newsom says the state is currently reviewing applications and will deploy approved professionals across the state based on demand.
The growing number of positive coronavirus cases and hospitalizations underscores the need for additional health care workers.
There are 6,932 positive coronavirus cases in California, a 17% increase from Monday. There have been 150 deaths.
There are currently 1,617 hospitalized individuals and 657 patients in intensive care unit beds. Over a five day period, coronavirus hospitalizations have doubled and ICU patients have tripled.
Newsom praised the tens of thousands of licensed health professionals who have signed up to aid in the response, especially given the shortage of personal protective equipment like respirator masks, shields and gloves.
On Tuesday, he said the state still needs about 100 million masks, including N95 and surgical masks, to meet the needs of the health care system.
Last week, Newsom said the state sought to procure 1 billion gloves.
Newsom also announced the creation of a statewide hotline for seniors. Those looking for help or assistance can call 833-544-2374 to get services such as grocery or medication delivery.
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