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Public Health Creating Medical Reserve Corps in St. Lawrence Co.

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CNY/NNY/S. Tier: Public Health Creating Medical Reserve Corps in St. Lawrence Co.
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CANTON, N.Y. -- Plan for the worst, but hope for the best. That's the thinking behind an initiative to boost St. Lawrence County's medical resources.

"We have a population of 111,000 people, almost 112,000 people, here in St. Lawrence County," Emergency Preparedness Coordinator Brandi Wells said. "So our health department would have to treat 112,000 people in 48 hours, and we can't do that with the 30 staff we have now."

Public health department downsizing has health officials launching a medical reserve corps, a team that would be ready to respond in case of a public health crisis. An estimated 100 volunteers are needed, including both medical and non-medical professionals.

"We're really in a position now were we need a group of trained volunteers that are ready and able to assist in an emergency," Wells said.

Officials said the public health reserve corps will be a major part of the county's emergency preparedness plan, and it's important to have that plan in place before it's needed.

"It's nice to have these things in place before events happen," Emergency Services Director Michael Lecuyer said. "As we move forward, with the medical emergencies that are occurring around the world, this will be an integral part or our emergency respondence capabilities."

Many counties around the region already have a medical reserve team in place. Having one in St. Lawrence County would ease the minds of those preparing for a worst-case scenario.

"It's a necessity these days to get a trained core of volunteers that are on standby and would be able to help in an emergency," Wells said.

Around 30 volunteers are already signed up.

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