California Health Corps Will Use Retired Doctors Against Vir

Thousands of retired doctors and nurses, as well as medical students are being urged to join the newly announced California Health Corps to fight the coronavirus outbreak. 

The rallying cry for medical professionals, including pharmacists, respiratory therapists, dentists and EMTs, came Monday as Gov. Gavin Newsom launched the initiative to relieve the strain on healthcare in the state. 

“In the last four days we’ve seen a doubling in terms of the number of hospitalizations due to COVID-19,” said Newsom, “we’ve also seen a tripling in the number of ICU patients in our system in the last four days.”

Newsom said that the data is following the state’s modeling and projections, and that the state had planned for the surge that would require a roughly two-thirds capacity increase in the hospital system.

To meet the surge, Newsom said that the state would require additional locations to place patients, more medical protective equipment, as well as more medical professionals and staff. 

Newsom’s Monday announcement was aimed at fulfilling the need for staff, by launching the new website healthcorps.ca.gov. The goal is to find 37,000 professionals to fill the ranks.

Such a mobilization is needed to support the state as it ramps up medical services. Newsom is trying to quickly bring 50,000 hospital beds online.

Participants "will be paid and will be given malpractice insurance coverage," the announcement said. 

Some licensing requirements will be relaxed, Newsom said. 

Health Corps is aimed at mobilizing both retired medical professionals as well as students nearing completion of medical school to help boost the human capital required for the coronavirus response. 

“We are calling on you top step up and help us meet this moment,” said Newsom.