In anticipation of a possible major surge in COVID-19 patients in the coming weeks, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced on Monday a new effort to expand the current health care work force in California.
“If you have a background in health care, we need your help,” Newsom said, asking interested individuals to visit healthcorps.ca.gov.
Those who want to sign up must meet the following qualifications:
- Be 18 years or older
- Be eligible to work in the U.S.
- Have a valid driver’s license or passport and a social security card
- Have a valid California license for clinical practice or be a medical or nursing student
- Have no negative licensure or certification actions (for licensed or certified professionals)
Volunteers will be paid and receive malpractice insurance coverage. Newsom said officials are currently working out the budget, which will come from federal and state funding.
The governor announced the initiative as California saw a doubling of COVID-19 patients in hospitals and the tripling of patients in intensive care units over the past four days.
The governor said as of Monday, there were 1,432 coronavirus patients in California hospitals—597 of them in ICUs.
“Outreach to unemployed health care workers and under-employed foreign medical graduates will help build the workforce needed to fight the pandemic — and also create new opportunities and jobs for Californians struggling with unemployment,” state Labor Secretary Julie A. Su said in a statement.
California is expecting the number of cases to rise as thousands of people await their test results, Newsom said, acknowledging that many more still need to be tested.
In addition to testing, state officials are also working to expand the state’s hospital capacity by 5,000 beds and procure about 10,000 more ventilators.
At least 135 people have died of COVID-19 in California, state health officials said Monday.