Johnson County Public Health asking medical professionals to register with Medical Reserve Corps


Lily Smith

The Johnson County Health and Human Services building at 855 South Dubuque Street.

Sarah Watson, Managing Editor

Johnson County Public Health officials are asking local health professionals to sign up for the Medical Reserve Corps in case the county would need more medical volunteers in the future, as preparedness efforts ramp up for a potential surge in COVID-19 cases.

The corps is local chapter of the national federal-government organization, and volunteers would assist Johnson County’s health-care system by providing additional staff during emergency operations.

“We are asking persons with any sort of medical background to volunteer for the future,” Community Health Manager for Johnson County Public Health Sam Jarvis said in a press conference Friday. “Our goal is to begin onboarding interested participants in a statewide registry for volunteers.”

He emphasized that volunteers wouldn’t be deployed immediately for a project, but those volunteers could be useful in the future.

“Right now there is no current project or mission we would deploy them at, but getting them into the statewide system helps with credentialing and licensing for the future,” he said.

According to the Johnson County Public Health website, those who can volunteer are:

  • Practicing, retired, or otherwise employed medical professionals, such as doctors, nurses, emergency medical technicians, pharmacists, nurses’ assistants, and others
  • Any community member without medical training who can assist with administrative and other essential support functions

Both University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics leaders have said they are concerned about an overwhelmed hospital staff if the state experiences a sudden surge in hospitalized COVID-19 patients. 

“I think we’ve had significant bed capacity. I think the the bigger challenge is probably staffing, especially for the more intensive type patients that might be a limitation,” UI Vice President for Medical Affairs Brooks Jackson said in a Wednesday conference, adding that for the time being, the hospital was equipped to handle the number of patients it was seeing right now and in the coming week.

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