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Paramedics, first responders face challenges as COVID-19 numbers increase again

First responders, paramedics are facing high temperatures while attempting to assist those...
First responders, paramedics are facing high temperatures while attempting to assist those seeking medical attention.(Pafford EMS | Pafford EMS)
Published: Jul. 27, 2021 at 1:50 PM CDT
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(KSLA) - As the number of new COVID-19 cases continues to grow along with hospitalizations, EMS and first responders are facing new and continuing challenges.

Clay Hobbs is the chief operating officer for Pafford EMS Services. He says that the call volume has increased regarding new COVID-19 cases. However, he said that there are other factors for paramedics to deal with.

“We also have the stress of paramedics having to wear isolation gear for our PPE,” Hobbs said. “Such as an N95 mask and Tyvek suits and so forth. As the temperatures continue to rise, with heat indexes of 110 degrees, it’s difficult for our paramedics to wear that personal protection equipment while getting in and out of ambulances, taking care of patients.”

Crews not only have to worry about possibly catching COVID-19; but also bringing it home to their families.

Healthcare Finance reports say last year 76 percent of health care workers reported being burned out.

“I think the emotional toll that it has on the paramedics is great, you can imagine coming in and be asked to work extra shifts and having an increased call volume,” Hobbs said.

The Arkansas Department of Health reports more than 900 people are in the hospital due to COVID. In Louisiana, as of jULY 27, there are more than 1300 people in the hospital because of coronavirus.

Casey McBeath with Balentine Ambulance Services said he worries about the amount of helping hands.

“Nationally there is a shortage of EMS personal and some of that is attributed to those. Some providers getting out of medical and EMS industry all together and some is a lack of classes and times for those who wanted to get into the industry,” he said.

Hobbs said as numbers increase, not just in the ArkLaTex, they are preparing to help out other places. In fact, they’ve already sent crews to Missouri.

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