TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (WBRC) - COVID-19 is putting a strain on Emergency Medical Services nationwide. That’s especially true in West Alabama where a representative of one of ambulance services spoke to WBRC.
Edgar Calloway, Operations Manager for Northstar Paramedic Services in Tuscaloosa said EMS services in large urban areas are dealing with many more calls related to coronavirus.
Precautions in place because of COVID19 force paramedics to take more time putting on P- P-E and clean ambulances that may have transported patients with coronavirus.
“Once we arrive at a hospital, potentially it takes longer to get a room, to have staff accept our patients,” Calloway said.
Some of the hospitals paramedics are taking patients to are near capacity Calloway continued.
“We were generally going to Birmingham which was an hour down the road. Now we are going 4 to 5 hours one way with some patients with specialty needed care because of the limited bed space.”
The longer some paramedics are on the road or waiting to get a patient admitted into a hospital, means more work for other paramedics.
“The limited staff we have are having to work longer hours and days which probably puts them at greater risk of catching the virus,” Calloway went on to say.
Thursday three of their paramedics had to go into quarantine due to a possible COVID19 exposure.