Local 911 calls increase during the pandemic
911 calls are rapidly increasing across the nation. even though ems is understaffed at Jackson General Hospital, they are adapting to the new normal.”
Calls to the emergency room in Madison County and surrounding areas are at a higher rate than in previous years. This is yet another symptom of the pandemic.
“Most of the calls we take right now are covid related,” said Christy Harden.
Harden is the communications supervisor for the EMS medical center at Jackson General Hospital. She says that more and more residents are calling if they experience any virus related symptoms.
“We’ve seen a 45 percent increase in 911 calls; we’ve seen a 35 percent increase in respiratory calls alone.”
To keep the ER from overcrowding, staff will only admit patients with severe symptoms.
The workers had to undergo additional training to serve residents during this time. When someone calls with chest pains or respiratory issues, staff members ask more questions.
“We screen every caller for covid signs and symptoms before we send an ambulance,” said Harden.
NBC News reports the American ambulance association wrote the department of human resources a letter stating the 911 emergency medical system is at its breaking point.
“We are short-staffed like most ems services are right now,” said Harden.
But every day, they strive to make sure they tackle the high call volumes.
“We band together and come together and make sure we have enough staff and that we can handle our call volume.”