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County calls for volunteers to help activate Medical Reserve Corps 

volunteers needed for Medical Reserve Corps in San Luis Obispo

Health care and mental health volunteers needed to support COVID-19 response

—The County of San Luis Obispo is seeking qualified volunteers to dramatically expand the county’s Medical Reserve Corps to help overcome the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.

“We need as many people as possible to step forward at this time to help our hospitals and other health care facilities respond to the forthcoming surge of our ill family members, neighbors, and community residents,” said SLO County Health Officer Dr. Penny Borenstein.

The Medical Reserve Corps is a group of qualified volunteers, made up of medical and mental health professionals, and ancillary paraprofessionals, who may be retired or currently employed.

SLO County needs medical help

  • Physicians
  • Nurse practitioners
  • Nurses
  • Respiratory therapists
  • Paramedics
  • EMTs
  • Licensed therapists and social workers
  • Certified addiction providers
  • Psychiatrists
  • Psychiatric nurse practitioners
  • Dentists,
  • Pharmacists
  • Veterinarians
  • Physical therapists

Many more medical-related positions need to be filled. Community members without medical training such as translators, sign language interpreters, and administrators also play a vital role and may apply.

Even county residents currently working full-time jobs are asked to apply and be available to work overtime shifts to help during this pandemic, Borenstein said.

COVID Paso RObles - San Luis Obispo update

Dr. Penny Borenstein

In response to COVID-19, volunteers may serve at alternate care sites, shelters for residents who are unhoused, emergency childcare centers and other locations; they may also support local hotlines or provide mental health care via telehealth.

The county’s Medical Reserve Corps is expected to be needed to staff an emergency field hospital the county is planning to set up at the Cal Poly recreation center. It is expected to scale from 400 to 700 hospital beds. Site improvements for the field hospital are set to begin next week.

“The Medical Reserve Corps is vital to our community’s response to public health emergencies,” Borenstein said. “I’m profoundly grateful to the skilled and generous volunteers who are stepping forward to serve at this time of need.”

Steps to volunteer for the San Luis Obispo County Medical Reserve Corps

1. Complete a profile on the California Disaster Healthcare Volunteers site. Note: Make sure to choose “San Luis Obispo County Medical Reserve Corps” as your Unit Affiliation

2. Contact the MRC Coordinator at and let them know that you applied. Visit the SLO County Public Health page on Medical Reserve Corps for more details.

3. Complete a background check. Once you have registered on the California Disaster Healthcare Volunteers page and contacted the MRC Coordinator at, they will provide you with paperwork to authorize SLO County to run a complete criminal and sex offender background check on you.

4. Final Paperwork, ID and Oath. Upon completion of your background check, the MRC Coordinator will contact you to schedule an appointment for you to complete orientation.

Orientation Process: 

  • Sign MRC Code of Conduct form
  • Sign HIPPA form
  • Take photo and receive photo ID badge
  • Take the Disaster Services Worker Volunteer Oath

The MRC Manual is available online.


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The news staff of the Paso Robles Daily News wrote or edited this story from local contributors and press releases. The news staff can be reached at