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State seeks health care volunteers to support COVID-19 response

The Oregon Health Authority is asking more working and retired health care professionals to join a registry of volunteers to aid in the COVID-19 response and future emergencies.

Since March, the State Emergency Registry of Volunteers in Oregon has added 800 new volunteers.

With most counties now entering phase one of reopening from COVID-19 restrictions, Gov. Kate Brown hopes to add even more volunteers to help wherever they’re needed.

“When our health care system was preparing for the worst of this, volunteer health care workers answered the call,” Brown said. “I want to commend all our health care professionals and volunteers for their incredible work protecting the lives, safety and wellness of Oregonians during this crisis.”

OHA is planning for volunteers to be a critical part of the state’s COVID-19 recovery effort by supporting contact tracing, testing and community wellness campaigns, as well as studies of long-term community effects and mass vaccination programs. Those signing up in the coming days will have the opportunity to train and deploy quickly, state officials said.

Other duties of volunteers could range from supporting medical casualty triage and behavioral health services to staffing medical shelters and information hotlines.

In addition to disease outbreaks, volunteers are ready to respond in case of other emergencies.

Volunteers have access to training programs, including continuing education credits, workforce training and emergency response training.

They can also participate in training exercises throughout the year to learn how to deal with disease outbreaks, earthquakes, tsunamis, wildfires, flooding, terrorism and other local, state and federal emergencies.

The registry of volunteers has doctors, nurses, pharmacists, emergency medical technicians, behavioral health providers, respiratory therapists and other medical professionals.

Health care professionals can register to volunteer at SERV-OR.org.

Health care professionals staff a temporary tent. Photo courtesy of the Oregon Health Authority