An urgent call for medical help to fight COVID-19

As the state of Illinois sets up alternative care sites in the battle against COVID-19, the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) is calling on all licensed health care professionals to join Illinois HELPS, an emergency alert system that, when activated, would deploy volunteers to areas of urgent need, likely at one of the new sites.

All physicians, nurse practitioners, registered nurses, physician assistants, medics, LPNs, CNAs, podiatrists and dentists are encouraged to register on the Illinois HELPS website.

How medical personnel may be asked to help
Medical professionals will be needed at both hospital surge and alternative sites throughout the state. It will be a fast-paced clinical environment with a reporting structure similar to a hospital.

At this time, the state is gearing up to staff an alternate care site at McCormick Place in Chicago. Personnel will be identified through Illinois HELPS for 12-hour shifts in the following roles:

Clinical Staffing for 500 Beds PER SHIFT:
10 physicians or Nurse Practitioners
10 Physician Assistants (at least one certified in Advanced Cardiac Life Support)
35 Registered Nurses = 15:1 ratio (one must have charge nurse experience)
25 Paramedics
35 CNAs or LPNs
5 mental health provider
10 Triage/Screeners at least one RN and 1 Medic or Tech
Pharmacy staff, consisting of at least one Pharmacist

Additional care sites needing medical staff will also be set up throughout the state, as needed.

Not sure if this is right for you?
Under Terms of Service, Illinois HELPS volunteers have the right to refuse to serve under any circumstances and for any reason. Even if you sign-up on Illinois Helps you are under no obligation to serve but you will receive the alerts and other information about the situation in Illinois.

More about Illinois HELPS
Illinois Helps manages a list of medical professionals who are willing to volunteer. Your status and availability as a volunteer may be determined with your hospital or employer’s emergency plan. If the emergency is in your immediate area, you may be required to report to work. However, some volunteers may be released from normal duties by their employer. If circumstances permit, and your employer agrees to release you to volunteer, we encourage you to make yourself available through Illinois HELPS.

Illinois HELPS part of a national network of state-based volunteer registration systems for managing medical volunteers at all tiers of response. Each system verifies the identity, credentials, certifications, licenses, and hospital privileges of health professionals who volunteer to provide health services during a public health emergency.

Once you have registered to become a volunteer, your professional credentials will be verified and this information will become part of the statewide secure database. Illinois HELPS may only be activated by the Director of the Illinois Department of Public Health or the Commissioner of the Chicago Department of Public Health or their designees in the event of an emergency.

Medical professionals who have left the field can also join the fight. The state has streamlined the process to reinstate your license. Apply here. More here.

If you are not a medical professional but want help, you can find other volunteer opportunities at