Less than 24 hours after the governor’s call to action, more than 25,000 medical professionals applied to join California’s new Health Corps as hospitals prepare for an expected surge in COVID-19 cases.
“I’ve never been more damn inspired in my life,” Gov. Gavin Newsom said during a news conference Tuesday. “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?”
On Monday, the state announced a new organization of medical workers as health experts predicted a surge in coronavirus cases over the next several weeks. The corps are seeking the participation of medical professionals who may not be actively working such as retirees or those needing to renew their license.
Health care workers who can apply include retired EMTs, medical assistants, paramedics, doctors, pharmacists, medical residents and nursing students, according to its website.
Newsom said the 25,000 applications were particularly inspiring since professionals are looking to help even while “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.
Gathering a workforce of those currently unemployed or “underemployed foreign medical graduates” will be key to the state’s handling of the pandemic as hospitals prepare for a peak in deaths and infections, state Labor Secretary Julie A. Su said in a statement.
Meanwhile, the Health Corps can employ more Californians who may be “struggling” as COVID-19-related business closures hit the state’s economy, the secretary said.
State officials have also been working to gather more ventilators and other crucial medical supplies as the number of COVID-19 cases continues to grow.
For a full list of eligibility requirements and other information on how to apply, visit the state’s online page for the program here.