SACRAMENTO, California –
For days after Governor Gavin Newsom announced the California Health Corps, all volunteers, he provided the latest information on how many retired medical workers had registered and admired the amount – 34,000 in the first 48 hours, 82,000 a week later.

Newsom said the country would move quickly to make them help with the estimated corona virus case.

Enrollments reached 93,000, but a wave of Newsom fears the hospital would not yet arrive. And the line of people who were in line to join the corps had fallen quickly.

An initial state examination revealed two-thirds – 60,000 volunteers – did not have the most basic requirements: a valid license to practice their expertise. And about 20,000 of those remaining haven’t filled out the application, despite being sent a reminder.

Country data requested by The Associated Press shows around 10,500 people are in the final review and of them, 4,900 or about 5% of those who initially volunteered to participate.

With hospitals able to handle their caseload, there is no clear role for the corps, but that does not stop the first deployment – 233 doctors, nurses, respiratory specialists and support staff have worked for more than a week in the emergency hospital at the Sleep Train Arena in Sacramento .

They are paid even if there are no patients.

“The staff is ready to help patients if needed. They also continue to examine the process and standardize operations, “California Health and Human Services Agency spokesman Rodger Butler said in an email Thursday.

Professor Joanne Spetz, associate director of research at the Healthforce Center at the University of California, San Francisco, described the Sleep Train situation as “All dressed and where is your prom date?”

“But it’s a good thing there is no prom date,” said Spetz, whose center is researching related issues health care and service workers.

Stephanie Roberson, director of government relations at the California Nurses Association, said it was more important for the governor to make sure everything was there health Care workers have protective equipment besides being “grandiose” about how many people sign up for the corps.

Even so, Roberson agrees that California is wise to have medical personnel ready to leave if there is a second wave of pandemic. Newsom said making sure the country had adequate resources to deal with the sudden surge was a prerequisite to reducing its order to stay home.

New York also established a reserve corps and had a flood of similar volunteers. They were not initially used even when Governor Andrew Cuomo appealed to medical workers from other states to help the beleaguered medical system in and around New York City, the epicenter of the U.S. outbreak.

The Cuomo administration said on Thursday that 96,000 people had registered and more than 12,000 had been connected to hospitals, nursing homes and other treatment facilities. New York allows facilities to choose directly from the list and officials cannot say how much is actually used.

The initial plan in California was to use corps members to prepare 66,000 emergency beds that were expected to be needed when the case peaked in May. Total surprise included tents, closed state facilities and places like the Sleep Train Arena and the Los Angeles Convention Center.

But California’s early and aggressive social distance helped limit hospitalization. Newsom is pretty sure that traditional hospitals have ample space that last week he said they could continue scheduling elective surgery.

However, the examination of prospective corps continues.

Nearly two-thirds of those accepted so far are nurses, whose monthly salary payment scales range from $ 4,000 for licensed vocational nurses to $ 6,600 for registered nurses.

The other 417 are doctors, with fees ranging from around $ 10,000 to $ 13,000 per month, depending on experience, knowledge and skills. About one fifth are various medical support personnel and the rest are breathing and behavioral professionals.

Nothing is paid until deployed.

The split of those assigned to the Sleep Train Arena is similar, with more nurses and support staff, and fewer doctors and respiratory specialists on standby since April 20. The state pays $ 500,000 a month to rent the facility, but expects the federal government to eventually pay back 75% of the cost.

Without patients, “California is actively evaluating additional opportunities for the California Health Corps to support California’s response to COVID-19,” Butler said.

He said alternative care venues such as the Sleep Train Arena can accommodate patients with low sharpness from skilled care facilities, which have been devastated. His agency last week published two guidelines for transferring patients between the site and treatment facilities.

Patricia McGinnis, California’s executive director of Advocates for Nurse Reform, will not object to using facilities to alleviate the crisis in nursing homes. The problem, he said, was “I don’t know what a low-sharp-patient nursing home with COVID looks like.”

Patients in nursing homes are generally elderly and have underlying health conditions that make them far more vulnerable to life-threatening complications if they contract the virus. About a third of the approximately 2,000 deaths in the state are caused by home care.

For most people, the virus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough, which disappear in two to three weeks. For some people, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, can cause more severe illnesses, including pneumonia and death.

Apart from the Sleep Train Arena, there are several patients in other emergency hospitals.

“Many people will wonder, are we too prepared?” Said Spetz. He, like Newsom, concluded “excessive preparation is better than lack of preparation.”


Associated Press writer Marina Villeneuve contributed to this story from Albany, N.Y.


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