Governor Phil Scott is calling all Vermonters into service with the launch of a new website allowing people to sign up for volunteer assistance to support the state’s response to COVID-19: https://vermont.gov/volunteer.
This website directs those with medical and healthcare skills to the Medical Reserve Corp (MRC), and those with other needed skills to a quick registration process to sign up to help.
“I am asking every Vermonter to dig deep and find a way to give more in this incredibly challenging time,” said Governor Phil Scott. “As we prepare for a surge in COVID-19 cases expected in the coming weeks, it will require each and every one of us to do our part to ease the burden on our health care system, the struggles of those less fortunate, and, ultimately, to save the lives of our friends and neighbors.”
Medical Reserve Corp Volunteers Needed to Bolster Existing Health Care Workers
Those with medical experience or other health care background and the ability to volunteer are needed to bolster the ranks of Vermont’s current health care workforce.
The state’s volunteer website directs these individuals to Vermont’s MRC units, community-based groups of volunteers who can supplement local emergency, health care provider staff and public health resources. This is needed because Vermont’s existing health care workers are going above and beyond to respond to this challenge as it unfolds, and they are going to need reinforcements.
“In every health care facility in Vermont, staff have been working extraordinary hours, performing herculean tasks under great pressure and with limited resources,” said Health Commissioner Mark Levine, MD. “Knowing we have qualified volunteers ready to serve will help our current health care workers and strengthen Vermont’s response. We are all in this together.”
The Vermont Medical Reserve Corps is seeking qualified and experienced volunteers:
• Licensed and certified health care professionals;
• People with mental health, or other types of clinical or professional experience;
• Health care administrative experience, such as with medical data entry or language translators; and
• People who have worked with displaced individuals, such as homeless shelter programs.
State officials emphasize this effort is about drawing more skilled personnel, such as retirees or those not currently employed in the healthcare field, into the response and not about redirecting existing healthcare workers.
Vermont has eased licensing requirements for the purposes of aiding this emergency response. Individuals who are licensed in other states or who were previously licensed should visit the Health Department website and review the guide on emergency licensure.
Other Volunteer Workers and Donations Also Needed to Strengthen Vermont’s Response
Other individuals who do not have medical or healthcare backgrounds but are willing to volunteer their time in Vermont’s response effort can register through the state’s volunteer web portal and indicate their expertise and availability.
The State expects to draw upon many skills to meet the challenge of serving those affected by COVID-19, potentially including drivers, food service, construction, IT, security, skilled trades and more.
In addition to volunteering their time, Vermonters can also contribute to blood banks, food banks, and other emergency supply efforts. The American Red Cross of Northern New England faces a severe blood shortage and many local food banks and other community organizations are in need of support and donations of supplies. In addition to volunteering, Vermonters can also give back in the following ways:
• Donate PPE: Donations of N95 masks, medical and industrial grade or surgical masks can be brought to your nearest State Police Barracks. You can find the location nearest to you here: https://vsp.vermont.gov/stations.
• Give blood: Visit the American Red Cross to learn how to safely donate blood: https://www.redcross.org/local/new-hampshire-vermont.html.
• Support your local Food Bank. Donate online at vtfoodbank.org or you can text GIVEHEALTH to 85511. If you’re in need of help, please visit vtfoodbank.org/gethelp.
Governor Scott is calling on all Vermonters to support these critical needs. “Our state is at its best when Vermonters pull together to help each other. The coming weeks will be very difficult, but united in common purpose, we will face, fight and defeat this virus – and emerge stronger together,” he said.