SAN DIEGO COUNTY, Calif. — The nationwide movement to give health care workers a safe place to stay is also helping San Diegans on the front lines fighting the coronavirus.
RVS 4 MDS matches recreational vehicle owners with medical workers in hopes of minimizing exposure and the chances of bringing the virus into their home.
“I don't even have the words for all the family and friends that have reached out to see how they can help us, go grocery shopping for us. Now we have this extra shelter in place to try and minimize and mitigate the exposure to our loved ones,” said Dr. Connie Miller.
Dr. Miller is an emergency medicine physician with Kaiser Permanente in San Diego. Her husband is also an E.R. doctor at another hospital. He has been treating patients with COVID-19, which is doubling the danger of bringing home the virus where there two young children live.
“It feels very intense sometimes, knowing that we are both in the same specialty and have about the same exposure. Since we are working in the department, [it] is emotional,” said Miller.
For weeks they’ve been weighing their options on how to quarantine to minimize exposure to keep themselves, their children, and patients safe.
“It's a really uncertain and scary time and we want to keep ourselves as healthy as we can so we can be there in the hospital helping sick patients,” said Miller.
An option that came across Dr. Miller’s Facebook page was RVS 4 MDS.
The page matches doctors and health care workers with the Renfro's in La Mesa. The couple had renovated their Keystone Cooper Canyon travel trailer but were not using it.
“Hotels, not a lot, are giving away hotel rooms for free. People are sleeping out of their garages because they are scared. They don’t know and they don’t want to risk it. No one should have to do that,” said Jamie Renfro.
RVS 4 MDS started in Texas and spread across the country with more than 24,000 members. It allows recreational vehicle owners to loan their trailer for free to front-line workers fighting the coronavirus.
“It's not just for medical doctors. It's for nurses. It's for people on the front lines,” said Holly Haggard, RVS 4 MDS co-founder.
There have been at least 345 matches and hundreds still pending. Renfro said if she could, she would help all health care workers with a safe place to shelter.
“I would love to help everybody, but that’s why I want to help spread the word to people in San Diego. If you have a motor home or trailer that’s not being used, it's a great way to help out,” said Renfro. “There is a huge need. Actually, I'm still getting messages. I know there is a couple hundred people looking for matches.”
This is a match of kindness for our health care heroes.
“I hope other health care workers can benefit. I want to thank all of San Diego volunteers who make this happen,” said Miller.
The Renfro’s plan to deliver the trailer this weekend.
To learn how to volunteer or if you are a health care worker in need click here.