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California is desperate, but volunteer health corps dwindles

Virus Outbreak California Health Corps
Posted at 10:35 AM, Jan 09, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-09 13:35:53-05

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California desperately needs more medical workers at facilities swamped by coronavirus patients, but almost no help is coming from a volunteer program that Gov. Gavin Newsom created at the start of the pandemic.

An army of 95,000 initially raised their hands, and just 14 are now working in the field.

Newsom says the program “has been incredibly effective.” But very few volunteers actually met qualifications for the California Health Corps, and only a tiny sliver have the high-level experience needed to help with the most serious virus cases.

Other states have had similar difficulties making volunteer programs work. A researcher says many eligible volunteers may have found other jobs before the latest coronavirus surge.