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‘RVS 4 MDS’: Finding Temporary Homes for Frontline Health Care Workers in Iowa

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DES MOINES, Iowa — The state says health care workers now account for more than a fifth of all cases of COVID-19 in Iowa.  While those front line workers try to keep us safe, a new group in Iowa has come up with a way to keep their families safe.

It’s called RVS 4 MDS.

As a frontline health care worker, Amy Otis felt scared every time she came home to her 4-month-old, her four-year-old and her husband.

“It’s nerve-wracking.  It’s scary, every time I come home, every time I go to work,” said Otis.

The Respiratory Therapist says at this point everyone at the hospital she works at in Des Moines has treated COVID-19 patients.

“I’m an essential employee as they say.  I’m happy to do it.  It’s just a matter of being as safe as you can when you come home,” she explained.

Home is now on wheels.

This week, Otis came across the Facebook group “RVS 4 MDS to Fight the Corona Virus”.  It provides doctors, EMTs, nurses and other front line medical workers a safe place to live.  Free of charge.  The same day she filled out a form, she found a match.

“Everyone can feel really helpless sitting on their couch watching the news, at some point, wondering what they can do,” said Christian Hempen.

Hempen found a way to do his part.  He loaded up his camper in Boone, hauled it Otis’ house in the metro and parked it in her driveway.

“When you go to think about the people on the front lines of this thing, I know I wouldn’t be able to do it. So the next best thing I can do is help those who are able to do it,” Hempen said. Having a safe place to sleep gives Otis one less thing to worry about.   At times like this, there’s nothing like peace of mind that while she’s out working on the front lines, her family will be protected on the home front.

“I think we’re all at a height of emotions at the hospital anyways ‘cuz we’re all at the top level of our stress.  So if anything like this happens, you just get emotional and it does make you tear up.  The goodness is still out there,” said Otis.

If you’re a health care worker in need of a place to stay or have an RV or camper, you’ll find the RVS 4 MDS group on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/rvs4mds/.

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