Wellesley town officials are in the awkward position of not wanting to diminish volunteer efforts by residents to help one another immediately during the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis, but also seeking to increase control over responses to the situation as it intensifies. This is particularly true of medical-related efforts.
The town has made a renewed call for those interested in helping to join the Wellesley Health Department Medical Reserve Corps.
The Corps, which is part of a regional Norfolk County effort, has about 100 members and new inquiries are coming in, according to the Health Department’s Cheryl Lefman.
The town is emphasizing that those medical and non-medical volunteers included in the Corps are “vetted by Health Department staff, credentialed (CORI/SORI forms) and receive training for specific tasks. For COVID-19, duties may involve assisting the Health Department staff, helping coordinate volunteer teams, working with families and children, and other community support roles.”
As of Friday, volunteers had not received specific training related to COVID-19, but do receive just-in-time training based on the town’s Incident Command System. We asked about which skills are most needed, but that was still in the brainstorming phase when we asked.
The town says the Medical Reserve Corps. played an important role in the H1N1 flu pandemic 10 years ago. “The Health Department ran 59 clinics in two months, in which vaccine for H1N1 was offered to children and adults. MRC volunteers were key to the success of these clinics, as it would not have been possible for the Health Department’s staff of five full-time employees and a few per-diem nurses to canvas the entire town. Volunteers helped to fill each role/responsibility at large and small clinics, and helped to allay fears of the townspeople when there was a shortage of vaccine. They demonstrated skill, diplomacy, empathy and willingness to assist with all tasks. Several new volunteers joined as a result of the response.”
To volunteer for the Corps, contact Cheryl Lefman at [email protected]