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New York, Colorado governors call on "former" doctors, nurses to rejoin workforce amid coronavirus pandemic

N.Y. shuts down Broadway & other large events
New York shutting down Broadway and other large events over coronavirus 01:57

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and Colorado Governor Jared Polis have each called on "former" health care workers to rejoin the workforce in order to support health systems stressed by the coronavirus.

According to Polis, former health care workers are anyone who is currently working in another field or is retired, but whose medical license is still active or can be reactivated.

The highly contagious nature of the novel coronavirus has meant that many health care workers have been forced to self-isolate for at least two weeks after coming in contact with a confirmed coronavirus case.

Cuomo said Thursday that New York is asking former doctors and nurses to "reconnect" with their past employer, in order to create a reserve workforce of health care professionals who are "on call" for coronavirus response. The state's Department of Health has also been asked to accelerate recertifications in order to expedite the process, according to the governor. 

Cuomo said that making sure health care facilities are well staffed is "just as important" as ensuring those facilities have enough equipment and tests. 

New York Gov. Cuomo Opens Coronavirus Testing Area In New Rochelle Park
Workers in protective gear operate a drive through COVID-19 mobile testing center on March 13, 2020 in New Rochelle, New York. Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Polis echoed Cuomo's call at a press conference on Friday. The Colorado governor said he is "particularly concerned" about how the virus will affect health care workers "who are already being put to the test."

"I'm asking you to reconnect with your past employer in the event that we need surge capacity" Polis said. 

"As health care workers are diagnosed they will be out of the workforce for 14 days, so we need to backfill those positions."

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