SACRAMENTO (CBS SF) — Governor Gavin Newsom on Monday called for an steep increase in the number of care workers to treat the surge of coronavirus patients in the state.
Newsom announced an new initiative called the California Health Corps system and a new web portal for health care professionals to apply to staff clinics and hospitals across California. The state is seeking all types of healthcare providers such as doctors, nurses, paramedics, EMTs, behavioral health professionals, and health care administrators.
The temporary staffing increase is part of an executive order to expand the health care workforce to staff an additional 50,000 hospital beds in the state to treat COVD-19 patients. The order temporarily suspends normal licensing and certification requirements for health care workers for the duration of the public health emergency.
“To treat the rising number of patients with COVID-19, our state needs more workers in the health care field to join the fight. If you have a background in health care, we need your help,” said Newsom. “We are calling on you to step up and step in and help meet this moment.”
Newsom said that over the past four days, hospitalizations for COVID-19 nearly doubled, rising from about 746 to now more than 1,432. Meanwhile the number of patients in intensive care nearly tripled from 200 to nearly 600.
People joining the California Health Corps system would be paid and given malpractice insurance coverage. The locations would vary, but individuals would try to be matched with their geographical preferences.
In addition, recent retirees and those in the process of obtaining their degrees were also encouraged to apply.
Newsom said the state has already secured a number of sites around the state to function as temporary hospitals for the expected 50,000 coronavirus patients. Other sites being looked at include the Oakland Coliseum and the former Sleep Train Arena in Sacramento.
Newsom made the announcement Monday as California surpassed 6,300 coronavirus cases in the state, the third most in the U.S. behind New York and New Jersey.