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Volunteer health-care workers come to New York City’s aid, but more are needed

Mayor Bill de Blasio estimates that the city will need 45,000 more clinical staff members to get through the next two months.

4/7/2020 3:00:00 AM

New York City needs 45,000 more health care workers, mayor Bill de Blasio said Friday. Most of them need to go to new, non-traditional hospitals like the Javits Center.

Mayor Bill de Blasio estimates that the city will need 45,000 more clinical staff members to get through the next two months.

On Friday from City Hall, Mayor Bill de Blasio stressed the need for more health-care workers in what is now the virus’ epicenter within the U.S., where there are 57,159 confirmed coronavirus cases and 1,562 people have died.In New York state the total number of cases now stands at 102,863. While 2,935 people have died as a result of COVID-19, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in his news conference on Friday.

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To get through April and into May, New York City “will need an additional 45,000 clinical staff,” de Blasio said Friday. Roughly 7,500 will be assigned to traditional hospital buildings and the other 37,500 will be staffing all the new, non-traditional hospitals that are being created, such as the Javits Center, he said.

An emergency alert blasted out across New Yorkers’ cellphones on Friday evening underlined the need. “Attention all healthcare workers: New York City is seeking licensed healthcare workers to support healthcare facilities in need,” it read.At the beginning of March, there were about 125,000 clinical staff across the city, according to the mayor.

“We need to get them those reinforcements and we need to do it quickly,” de Blasio said, noting that he’s utilizing volunteers from the city and the state, contracting medical personnel and has asked FEMA for 1,000 nurses, 150 doctors and 300 respiratory specialists by Sunday.

As of Thursday, 447 New York City-based volunteers have registered for shifts at health-care facilities, a representative from the department of health told MarketWatch.The volunteers are being organized by the New York City Medical Reserve Corps (NYC MRC), under the city’s department of health.

Typically, the primary role of NYC MRC’s volunteers is to distribute antibiotics or vaccines to New Yorkers during a health emergency, the organization’s website said. But they can also be utilized for medical surge capacity “during a pandemic influenza outbreak.”

Volunteer members represent a range of disciplines, including physicians, physician assistants, nurses, EMTs respiratory therapists and medical assistants.The group did not immediately respond to a request for comment.Volunteers must complete a two-step process, first registering with ServNY, New York State’s Volunteer Program, then getting verified by the NYC MRC. The group then “provides them a list of surge staffing opportunities they can choose from based on the healthcare facility’s needs,” according to the city health department.

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Across New York state the total number of health-care volunteers now stands at 85,400, Cuomo said Thursday.Tens of thousands of those volunteers are from outside of the Empire State.“I asked for people to come help New York,” the governor said. “20,000 people volunteered in a matter of days to come help New York in the middle of a pandemic.”

“Think about that, 20,000 health professionals said ‘I’ll leave my home and come to your state,’” Cuomo said, stressing how New Yorkers will be ready to give back in return. Read more: MarketWatch »

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