SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – Both San Joaquin and Stanislaus Counties say they’re running out of traditional ICU beds and need more staff, so where are the state’s touted Health Corps workers?
Gov. Newsom is standing behind this program despite it barely being put into action. At a press conference Friday, Newsom said, “Health Corps is one component and we’re very proud of the hundreds and hundreds of people that have been deployed throughout the state.”
Hundreds, not thousands of Health Corps staff are ready to be deployed. Still, there are not enough who are qualified to staff the area’s ICUs.
On Wednesday, the governor said 35,000 medical staffers are available from California’s Health Corps. CBS13 asked him about it during his press conference.
READ: California Health Corps Questions Remain Unanswered As Hospitals Face COVID-19 Surges
“You’re saying there are 35,000 Health Corps members ready to be deployed to assist this crisis, but we’ve learned most aren’t qualified to work in an ICU or have the necessary licenses to respond in this way. Can you clarify how many health care clinicians are ready and able to be deployed to hospitals immediately?” CBS13 asked.
Governor Newsom said, “I have the exact number I’m going to make sure our team sends that to you.”
The governor’s team did get back to CBS13 on that point.
As of this week, a little more than 700 volunteers are ready to be deployed, and that number could grow. When the governor talked about thousands of volunteers, he was referring to the total number of medical staff who were accepted with any valid certification.
ALSO: California Health Corps Not Used Amid ICU Capacity Crisis In San Joaquin County
“That’s the approach we’re taking, not just the Health Corps. The Health Corps is one component, an important component, but is not the totality in terms of health support,” Newsom said.
The governor’s team is now going back and now reaching back out to the health professionals who are qualified and accepted. That number is at almost 4,000 staffers.
“We went back and we re-surveyed and we began to segment our needs with more acuity,” Newsom said.
As of Friday, in San Joaquin County, leaders say they are still seeing 136% capacity in their ICU. They have not made any requests for Health Corps personnel. Two federal medical teams have responded to the county to assist with ICU staffing.
READ MORE: Second Federal Medical Team Deployed To San Joaquin County Amid ICU Staffing Shortage