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As COVID-19 cases surge, EMTs see increased calls from people with the virus, urge people to follow mitigation efforts

They say, if action is not taken we could be at a crisis level by mid-December

CARLISLE, Pa. — Local EMS agencies are seeing not only a spike in calls, but also the number of patients with COVID-19.   

"The number of patients we are seeing in the community has dramatically increased," said Assistant Chief Nathan Harig, Cumberland Goodwill EMS.

Haris says, the majority of their calls are from known positive COVID-19 patients. Two weeks ago, they were averaging about 5 to 6 COVID-19 related calls per week. Now, they are averaging about 5 to 6 COVID-19 related calls per day. 

"it's not sustainable," said Harig. "We have to start taking personal action and personal responsibilities to protect our most vulnerable populations and that involves not being afraid to wear a mask in public." 

Harig says, at this rate, things could amount to a crisis by mid-December. It is difficult to predict what could happen, but hospitals could be filled or there won't be enough EMTs to answer every 911 call. 

"Once they reach capacity for COVID," said Harig. 'We're going to see delays, having to move patients to other hospitals so that's really one of the effects of this crisis we're really worried about is making sure we have destinations for every patient we encounter." 

Harig is asking everyone in the community to follow mitigation efforts put in place by the state like, mask wearing, social distancing, and not seeing people outside your household.  

"That's my greatest fear," said Harig. "So, unless we start seeing some really strong adoption of mitigation efforts the experts keep touting, its only going to get worse and worse and we're only at the beginning of this third wave." 

Harig says, for now they have an adequate supply of personal protective equipment but says, that could change at any moment as the number of cases continue to rise.

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