Hundreds of people have stepped forward in Missouri to offer medical service during the COVID-19 pandemic, and more will be needed.
Gov. Mike Parson has also temporarily waived requirements for notary publics to be physically present to conduct business.
"As I announced on Saturday, DHSS, SEMA (and) Missouri One Start are all teaming up to recruit medical professionals not currently part of the workforce to join the Missouri Disaster Medical Assistance Team," Parson said.
The team, also known as MO DMAT-1, will deploy when needed to supplement the state's current health care workforce, and during the pandemic, that's included Golden Valley Hospital in Clinton and Western Missouri Medical Center in Warrensburg, according to news release during the weekend from Parson's office.
"Since Saturday, we have received over 900 applications," Parson said.
Sandy Karsten, director of the Missouri Department of Public Safety, said the state will be "expeditiously hiring" from the applicant pool.
Karsten also invited people with professional medical licenses in medicine, nursing, allied health, dentistry and bio-medicine to consider joining.
"Based on the models we're seeing for COVID-19 in Missouri, we will need additional personnel to assist at medical facilities, including the alternate care sites that we're currently making ready," Karsten added.
The state has been identifying alternate care sites — sites where hospitals could send patients for care if or when they reach and exceed their capacities to do so — with the assistance of the Missouri National Guard and federal agencies. Surveyed sites have included large arenas and hotels in Missouri's major cities.
While COVID-19 deaths may be leveling off or dropping in other states, Missouri has not yet reached the peak of the pandemic, and the curve of infections in Missouri is still climbing, Karsten said.
DHSS Director Dr. Randall Williams said Monday it was encouraging that for the first time since March 23, no tests analyzed by the State Public Health Laboratory had turned out to be positive for the disease.
Commercial labs did report an increase in cases, but Williams said those tests are batched and may reflect a longer period of time.
As of Monday, 31,654 people in Missouri had been tested, out of a population of more than 6 million.
Karsten said DMAT positions are paid, and applicants need to be able to work 12-hour shifts. It's also preferred that an applicant has had patient contact in the past six months, and those who register on the DMAT website — on.mo.gov/joindmat — must provide their medical license and resume.
Something else that will now be able to be done online is notary public services, after Parson signed an executive order Monday that suspended the requirement that notaries be physically present to do their work.
Missouri Secretary of State John R. "Jay" Ashcroft said "for three years, we've been working to get this done."
This year had been another year Ashcroft had been trying to get the Legislature to reform the state's notary public laws to allow for remote notary services.
While the pandemic has put that and almost all other legislative work this session on hold, Ashcroft was still hopeful Monday that state lawmakers would ultimately enact such changes.
Parson's executive order authorizing notary services through video-conferencing expires May 15, unless otherwise extended.
Ashcroft said his office would be putting up a website that would answer some frequently-asked-questions about the remote notary services being authorized.
A later news release added: "Details on registration and the personal appearance suspension will soon be available on the Secretary of State's website at www.sos.mo.gov/ElectronicNotary. Please email [email protected] or call (573) 751-2783 with questions."