What to Know
- For days, Gov. Andrew Cuomo has publicly said the state was working in reaching out to medical professionals outside a hospital setting -- including many health professionals who are retired -- to volunteer in staffing hospitals during the COVID-19 pandemic
- On Wednesday, during his daily briefing, the governor announced that the state received 40,000 volunteers
- More than 6,000 mental health professionals have signed up to provide free online mental health services
For days, Gov. Andrew Cuomo has publicly said the state was reaching out to medical professionals who work outside a hospital setting -- including those who are retired -- to incite them to volunteer in staffing hospitals during the COVID-19 pandemic.
His pleas have been successful -- so much so that tens of thousands of these healthcare professionals have signed up to volunteer in New York's Surge Healthcare Force.
On Wednesday, during his daily briefing, the governor announced that the state received 40,000 volunteers.
"We have been working on putting together a surge healthcare force," he said. "Go back to the retirees. Go back to the nurses and doctors who may not be in the hospital [or] direct medical care occupation and ask them to sign up for possible reserve duty. God bless them. Forty thousand people have signed up as a surge healthcare force."
Cuomo explained the need for these additional healthcare workers and what that means for the healthcare system as the state continues to deal with an increase in COVID-19 cases.
"Forty thousand have signed up. That’s a big, big deal because you can create beds and find the equipment but you have to have the staff," he said. "You have to have the staff for those additional beds that are now in the hospital system and you have to have staff when the existing staff gets ill or [when] they can't work the hours that we are going to need people to be working."
According to Cuomo, 2,265 of these volunteers are physicians, which include anesthesiologists, emergency room technicians, ICU physicians, experts in infectious diseases and pulmonologists. Additionally, 2,409 nurse practitioners, 938 physician assistants, 328 nurse anesthetists, 160 respiratory therapists, 16,367 registered nurses and 4,016 licensed practical nurses have signed up so far.
Cuomo said the surge in health professionals is not only limited to those who can assist with bringing coronavirus patients back to physical health, but also those who can assist with mental health.
The worries associated with the pandemic and the self-isolation during voluntary and mandatory quarantine can wreak havoc on an individuals mental well-being. Because of this, the state announced it set up a free hotline where one can schedule an appointment to speak with a mental health professional.
"We’ve talked about the emotional stress that this brings on people and the mental health stress and the mental health challenges. Nobody is really talking about this. We are all concerned about the immediate critical need, the life and death of the immediate situation. But don’t underestimate the emotional trauma that people are feeling and the emotional health issues," Cuomo said.
"We asked for mental health professionals to voluntarily sign up to provide online mental health services. Six thousand mental health professionals agreed to volunteer to provide mental health services for people who need it," Cuomo went on to say. "How beautiful is that?"
So far, 6,175 mental health professionals have signed-up to volunteer.
If you would like to talk to a mental health professional, call the hotline at 1-844-863-9314.
For more information on how to manage stress and anxiety during these uncertain times, click here.