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Thousands of health care professionals join New York's coronavirus response

Gov. Andrew Cuomo called on qualified medical professionals, including retirees, to join the state's surge health-care force.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — As the number COVID-19 cases in New York State continue to rise, Gov. Andrew Cuomo called on qualified medical professionals, including retirees, to join the state's surge health-care force.

He said in a news conference on Friday, “62,000 volunteers. The number went up 10,000 in one day. How beautiful is that?”

To offer your health care services, you can enlist at health.ny.gov/assistance.

Western New Yorkers are also joining the effort.

Renee Kasprzak of Buffalo told us through a video chat that she's preparing to step back into action.

"My mother herself is 81, and in a nursing home, and has been transferred from the nursing home to the hospital during all this," Kasprzak said. "The nurse in me and the aid in me that worked in nursing homes, subacute care for 20-plus years is nervous as heck.”

Kasprzak said she went to nursing school when her daughter was 2 years old.

Now, after about seven years out of the field, she's already been in contact with the state to see what she would need to do to get back on the floor.

“We’re at the point where this needs to be done so everyone needs to kind of step up and do their thing," she explained. 

In response to the pandemic, D'Youville is accelerating graduation for high-needs healthcare fields including nursing and pharmacy. 

“As we’ve been tracking this and what we’ve seen downstate, I think it’s absolutely essential that we have this second wave of health professionals ready and available to our current workforce if they need to take a break from the long hours that they have been working," said Lorrie Clemo, the President of D'Youville College.

She added, "We have to have people there ready to support them.”

Clemo told 2 on Your Side several students jumped at the opportunity and many faculty members stepping up as well. 

“We’re happy to help and we hope other universities are going to be able to use this approach so that we can quickly mitigate this pandemic in Western New York and across the country at large," Clemo said.

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