As the United States took the grim title of the country with the most coronavirus infections, the State Department announced that it is looking to hire international medical staff to handle the increasing number of coronavirus cases in the country.
"We encourage medical professionals seeking work in the U.S. on a work or exchange visitor visa (H or J), particularly those working on #COVID19 issues, to contact the nearest U.S. Embassy/ Consulate for a visa appointment," said a tweet by the Bureau of Consular Affairs.
Particularly those working to treat or mitigate the effects of COVID-19 were encouraged to reach out to the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate to request a visa appointment, the statement added.
The State Department also urged foreign medical professionals already in the U.S. to take necessary steps to extend their stay.
"J-1 Alien Physicians (medical residents) may consult with their program sponsor, ECFMG, to extend their programs in the United States ... Note that the expiration date on a U.S. visa does not determine how long one can be in the United States," the statement said.
With capacity stretched thin, U.S. hospitals are rushing to find beds for a coming flood of patients, opening older closed hospitals, turning single rooms into doubles and re-purposing other medical buildings.
Over half the U.S. population is now under some form of lockdown as authorities nationwide seek to stem outbreaks. Birmingham, Alabama, and Charlotte, North Carolina have become the latest major U.S. cities to order residents to stay indoors.
New York State alone accounted for more than 30,000 cases and close to 300 deaths, most occurring in New York City.