Healthcare students, healthcare workers and retired healthcare workers have an opportunity to join the fight against COVID-19 by volunteering to help the state and the healthcare system. Louisiana Volunteers is a partnership of all higher education institutions in Louisiana, led by the University of Louisiana System and Louisiana State University, to mobilize students and graduates in healthcare professions.
Volunteers from across Louisiana’s universities and community colleges with backgrounds in medicine, nursing, allied health professions, dentistry, pharmacy, counseling, mental/behavioral health and laboratory science, among others, are encouraged to become involved.
The purpose of the www.COVID-19LAVolunteers.org website is to primarily mobilize healthcare students and graduates from universities and colleges throughout Louisiana to volunteer their time and talents, serving as force-multipliers to the existing healthcare workforce that is quickly getting stretched thin.
The website is also available to active members or retirees of Louisiana’s healthcare workforce who are willing and able to assist in this statewide workforce augmentation effort.
“It is our goal to leverage these volunteers as case managers and care coordinators to remotely and safely work with individuals with COVID-19 positive diagnoses, and to monitor patient conditions while under self-quarantine, said Dr. Ramesh Kolluru, chief innovation officer for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and vice president for research, innovation and economic development at the University of Louisiana-Lafayette. “Using COVID-19 protocols from CMS and the Louisiana Department of Health, and in coordination with the healthcare systems, these volunteers will direct patients to specific hospitals in their communities, if and only when needed. We expect this will limit the number of patients showing up at hospitals/ERs, causing a significant burden on the healthcare system, while relieving patients and their families the burden of shopping around for hospitals with beds, staff, resources, and the ability to take in COVID-19 patients.”
Ramesh said this collaboration is a tool for purposeful service, student engagement and volunteerism that exemplifies the spirit of Louisiana and undergirds Louisianians’ innate ability to recover from disasters and adversity.
“We believe that more than 9,000 of healthcare students from our universities and colleges are willing and able to join hands (figuratively speaking) with our amazing healthcare workers on the frontlines to help the state through this crisis,” Kolluru said.
As of March 25, the Louisiana Department of Health is reporting 407 new positive cases of COVID-19 and 19 new deaths bringing the total number of positive cases in the state to 1,795, with 65 total deaths from the coronavirus to date. There are now 93 cases reported in Caddo Parish and 25 in Bossier Parish. Bienville Parish is reporting one case and one death. Webster Parish has already reported one death and is now reporting five cases. Forty-eight out of the state’s 64 parishes are now reporting coronavirus cases.