Thursday, April 2, 2020

County Health Director: We Need Retired Nurses To Return To Work

Posted By on Thu, Apr 2, 2020 at 11:36 AM

Dr. Bob England, Pima County Health director, delivered a plea today to the community’s healthcare professionals: We need your help.

England asked any nurse, nursing assistant or related professional who has spare time, was laid off or furloughed to contact the county to offer aid.

“If you were one of those folks and you got furloughed and you have time on your hands, your community needs you now like ever before,” England said in his daily YouTube update on the outbreak.

In his address, England said there is at least one healthcare facility in the county in need of at least a dozen nurses and two dozen nursing assistants.

The county is accepting volunteer help on its website but asked that any healthcare professionals contact them via email at to be immediately placed.

Not all positions are volunteer, England said. Some do pay.

“Please come back to work,” England said. “We really need you now.”

Earlier in the day, Pima County Health Director Francisco Garcia told the Board of Supervisors that the county is doing “pretty darn good” in terms of hospital bed space right now, though that could change.

The county conducts a daily phone call with area healthcare providers to receive updates.

According to assistant county administrator John Voorhees, Pima County is still operating with minimal supplies on hand, and is confronted by long waiting lists for critical purchases. The county has also received its final shipment from the national emergency stockpile.

In light of the shortages, Vorhees said the county is actively looking at local businesses who are shifting production to create necessary supplies. One such connection resulted in an order of 100 gallons of sanitizer.

Pima Community College is also donating its remaining supply of personal protective equipment to the county.

Despite the progress being made to gather supplies, Vorhees told the supervisors that vetting potential vendors is a difficult task.

“This, combined with unconventional and sometimes opportunistic new vendors, has created an environment where the typically large purchasing power of government is tempered by conservative and judicious financial decision making,” he said.

There have 237 cases of COVID-19 in Pima County and 11 deaths, according to the most recent information available from the county health department. Of those cases, 45 people have been hospitalized and 15 have been in intensive care.

The county has also set up two COVID-19 hotlines to answer questions and concerns from the public and healthcare providers. For general information about COVID-19, including news, testing, prevention and cleaning guidelines, call 2-1-1 from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily.

Healthcare providers or people who have questions about symptoms they or their patients are having can call 1-844-542-8201 at any time.

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