California Gov. Gavin Newsom updates the state’s response to the coronavirus at the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services in Rancho Cordova, Calif., Monday, March 23, 2020.
Rich Pedroncelli | AP
California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced a new effort dubbed the California Health Corps to get thousands of new health care workers out into the field to help support a potential flood of patients with COVID-19.
On Twitter, Newsom asked retired doctors, nursing students, members of medical disaster response teams, nursing students, medical students, medical assistants, emergency medical technicians and other professionals to sign up to work in California.
According to the website, those who sign up will be given a salary and malpractice insurance. Locations will vary, depending on regional needs. The governor’s order says the state can suspend certain certification or licensing requirements during the emergency.
“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,” said California Labor Secretary Julie A. Su in a statement.
Thus far, California has more than 6,000 known COVID-19 coronavirus cases but the number is thought to be far higher due to the lack of testing. The Bay Area passed more than 2,000 cases over the weekend.
It is not known when California will hit a peak of COVID-19 patients. To prepare for a potential outbreak, Governor Newsom said the state ordered ventilators from the federal government’s stockpile but some of them arrived broken on Saturday. He said that the 170 broken ventilators would be shipped to Bloom Energy in Sunnyvale to be fixed and deployed to hospitals.
“We’re in the middle of this,” noted Gov. Newsom on Monday. “We believe very strongly that the stay at home order has helped advance our efforts are reducing the stress on the system.”