Fresno County calls for volunteers to help deal with COVID-19 crisis

FRESNO COUNTY, Calif. (KFSN) -- Officials with the Fresno County Department of Public Health are giving more details on coronavirus cases and how they are preparing for a rise in patients at local hospitals.

On Friday, the county reported nine new coronavirus-related deaths and 441 new cases, bringing the total number of COVID-19 cases in the county to 9,565 - the highest in all of Central California.

The county is calling on the community to help with their shortage of medical staff.

Both volunteer and paid positions are listed on the Fresno County Public Health website.

County officials say they are assembling medically trained personnel to be activated when needed at hospitals, skilled nursing care facilities, or at an alternate care site. Opportunities for non-medical positions are listed as well.

Dr. Rais Vohra says that with local hospitals nearing or at capacity to treat COVID-19 patients, the county is utilizing the extra beds at the Porterville Development Center.

If the need for beds surpasses that, the Fresno Convention Center could be opened as an alternate care site.

"But really this is a time for all of our community to look around and say, 'Things are not normal.' There's tents in the parking lots of our hospitals, we have FEMA and the national guard and EMS agencies from other counties coming in to help us provide medical care to our patients," said Vohra.

Fresno County is one of 30 in California that are on a state monitoring list and have been ordered to close their gyms, hair salons, worship services, and malls due to a resurgence in COVID-19 cases. Others on the list in the Central Valley are Kings, Tulare, Merced and Madera counties.

RELATED: Gov. Newsom orders hair salons, gyms, churches, other businesses to close indoor operations in most Central CA counties

On Friday, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced that these counties will not be allowed to open schools for in-person classes.

RELATED: Gov. Newsom says California counties on watch list must keep schools closed

The order would currently disqualify all schools in Fresno, Kings, Tulare, Merced and Madera counties, unless the counties are able to get off the watch list for 14 days.
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