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Hertz offers free rental cars to health care workers in New York City

N.Y. governor pleads for 30,000 ventilators

Health care workers in New York City now have one less thing to worry about — how they'll get to work. Hertz announced Wednesday that it will now provide free vehicle rentals to those on the front lines in the epicenter of America's coronavirus pandemic.

"With New York City having the highest number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the country, health care workers are dealing with extremely challenging circumstances," said Kathryn Marinello, Hertz president and CEO, in a press release. "It's vital that health care workers have safe and reliable transportation during this time, and we are eager to help."

The company will offer the free rentals — for a week, up to a full month — from its 19 New York City-area Hertz locations beginning Wednesday through April 30. Marinello explained that a "dramatic decrease" in travel has led to more vehicles that are available to "serve the most critical needs of the community."

Health care workers in New York City can rent a vehicle by joining one of Hertz's rewards program with their medical email address, if they do not already have one, logging in and booking at a participating location. The company will then call to confirm the reservation details, according to its website.

Renters must have a valid medical ID, email address with health care domain, and valid driver's license, according to the company. Drivers are responsible for covering the cost of tolls, refueling and any damages.

To have an immediate impact, the company said it is working with the Mount Sinai Health System to "make vehicles available" to its staff in the city. Hertz is also providing the system with free rentals of cargo vans to transport ventilators, as well as other medical supplies, according to the statement.

"A large part of my job is providing emotional support to families in the NICU, so it's important at a time like this for me to be able to get to work," said Lindsay Davis, who works as a Certified Child Life Specialist in the NICU at Mount Sinai Hospital. "I'm grateful that Hertz is helping me do so safely."

While the company is beginning the initiative in New York City with health care workers, Marinello didn't close the door on helping others fighting the pandemic with the initiative. "We're starting in New York City with health care workers and we'll continue to see how we can help during this crisis," she added.

Stories from health care workers in New York City are continuing to emerge — painting a war-zone-like picture of hospitals in the Big Apple. The city is faced with an infection rate that is five times higher than the rest of the U.S., as well as a shortage of essential supplies, such as ventilators.

New York Governor Cuomo said Wednesday that more than 30,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus have been recorded in the state. He said the peak of the outbreak, where the most patients are seeking care in hospitals, could be about 21 days away.

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