RICHMOND, Va. – Governor Ralph Northam is calling for additional medical and non-medical volunteers to join the Virginia Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) in the fight against COVID-19.
The MRC is a force of volunteers who stand ready to support the community in the event of a public health emergency. Local units are comprised of teams of medical and public health professionals who, along with community members, volunteer their time, skills, and expertise to support ongoing public health initiatives and assist during emergencies.
There are currently about 14,700 MRC members, with nearly a third of them signed up in the past couple weeks. It is estimated up to 30,000 volunteers are needed to provide support for the expected surge in Virginia hospitals and long-term care facilities, according to the governor’s office.
Additionally, about half of the volunteers have professional medical experience.
“As a doctor and a veteran, I know how vital it is to have the necessary personnel on the front lines,” said Governor Northam. “The success of our COVID-19 crisis response depends on our ability to mobilize a dedicated healthcare workforce, and we are counting on Virginians to lend a hand and help us battle this virus. This is an opportunity to do good for our Commonwealth and save lives.”
The Office of the Governor and the MRC have already began the process of recruiting medical and non-medical volunteers.
They are working with colleges and universities to reach out to students, especially those enrolled in health and medical degree programs. The administration is also reaching out to individuals who have recently filed for unemployment benefits and have relevant experience, and is coordinating with hospitals, health systems, and professional associations to help recruit their community members.
“Whether you have a background in health care or just want to serve your community, Virginia needs you,” said Chief Workforce Advisor Dr. Megan Healy. “All Virginians are welcome in the fight against COVID-19, and we will need a wide range of talents to enhance the Commonwealth’s medical surge capacity during this time of crisis.”
Non-medical volunteer positions that are needed include logistics, communication, coordination, technology and other support.
Nurses, nurse practitioners, and nursing students are particularly encouraged to apply.
For more information or sign up to become an MRC volunteer, click here.
Most patients with COVID-19 have mild to moderate symptoms. However, in a small proportion of patients, COVID-19 can lead to more severe illness, including death, particularly among those who are older or those who have chronic medical conditions.
COVID-19 spreads primarily through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.
Symptoms include fever, cough, and difficulty breathing. Symptoms appear within 14 days of being exposed to an infectious person.
Virginia health officials urged the following precautions:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
- Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer only if soap and water are not available.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.Stay home when you are sick.
- Avoid contact with sick people.Avoid non-essential travel.