First Responders Are Feeling Strained From Impacts Of COVID-19
NORTHLAND, Minn. – First responders have been strained by this pandemic, especially ambulance crews that may respond to someone having symptoms.
Communities rely on first responders when emergencies happen, but as coronavirus case numbers surge in the region, the job is becoming more challenging.
“We need some help in being able to respond to the emergencies,” said Virginia Mayor Larry Cuffe, Jr.
Part of the issue involves fewer emergency crews being available because of the increasing number of patients needing transport to hospitals outside the area.
“We’re just trying to keep our head about water. We are prioritizing patients based on emergency basis to get them to the help they need. as these transfers move forward they stack up because we don’t have the staff. We only have six ambulances,” said Cuffe.
Cuffe also says the city is planning to hire more EMTs, but it all comes at a cost.
Other emergency teams like the lake county ambulance service are also struggling with maintaining enough staff.
“Every time somebody is suspected of having COVID-19 or come down with the virus takes out a large percentage of the people who are available to be on duty from day to day,” said Derrick Bruestle, the executive director of the Lake County Ambulance Service.
Staff shortages can often take a toll on the other available first responders.
The time the spend here takes away from the time they could be spending at home. We run 24-hour shifts here,” said Bruestle. “If they are running consecutive shifts that’s time they are not being a parent, a husband or a wife.
Even through challenges the main goal remains to continue helping their community the best way possible.
“Our priority is still remains to taking care of the population here and servicing those 911 calls,” said Bruestle.