Missouri seeks retired medical staff, others to fight virus on special team

Tracking Coronavirus

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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — State officials are asking medical professionals who are not working to join a specialized state team that responds to critical health emergencies.

“We are calling on all available medical professionals to support the effort to fight the virus by joining a critical reserve unit now focusing on providing care in high need areas across the state,” Gov. Mike Parson said in a news release Saturday. “Their efforts can help save the lives of their fellow Missourians.”

Selected medical workers would become part of the Missouri Disaster Medical Assistance Team. The state is asking health care students, retired health care workers and those whose professional registration recently expired to apply online for the team, here.

Individuals are needed with backgrounds in medicine, nursing, allied health, dentistry, biomedicine, laboratory science, logistics and communications.

Medical personnel from the team have already deployed to augment staffing at Golden Valley Hospital in Clinton and Western Missouri Medical Center in Warrensburg.

Also on Saturday, major health care systems in the St. Louis region announced the creation of the St. Louis Metropolitan Pandemic Task Force. Participants include the BJC HealthCare, Mercy, SSMHealth and St. Luke’s Hospital.

The task force aims to ensure collaboration and coordination of supplies, hospital beds and other critical assets. It also plans daily public briefings about regional efforts to stop the spread of the virus.

Parson issued a statewide stay-at-home order Friday, meaning Missouri has joined about 40 other states requiring residents to avoid going out except for essential purposes. The statewide order takes effect Monday and expires April 24.

It came as the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Missouri reached 2,113, up 279, or 15%, from Thursday. The number of infections has increased more than eight-fold in the past 10 days. Nineteen people have died of COVID-19, the illness caused by the virus.

Most infected people develop mild or moderate symptoms that clear up within three weeks, such as fever and cough. But older adults and people with existing health problems are particularly susceptible to more severe illness, including pneumonia.

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