SWFL paramedics see rise in calls as COVID-19 cases surge

Reporter: Justin Kase Writer: Jack Lowenstein
Published: Updated:
Deputy Chief Michael Davis with Charlotte County Fire & EMS. Credit: WINK News.

Nurses and doctors aren’t the only one’s feeling the brunt of the present surge of the coronavirus. Paramedics are seeing near-record numbers of calls.

Lee County Public Safety told us it had a record of more than 400 responses on Monday, which is second only to the day after Hurricane Irma’s impact in 2017.

These are, of course, not numbers alone but statistics representing people with families who hope their loved ones return home.

Lehigh Acres Fire Control & Rescue District is among agencies where it’s seeing a large uptick in responses, with the surge in COVID-19 partly to blame. We are told population growth also makes them busy.

“The long story short is we are seeing an increase in calls,” said Deputy Chief Michael Davis with Charlotte County Fire & EMS.

Charlotte County says it’s also seeing a surge.

“We’re up roughly 24% call volume from that last year,” Davis said. “In the same respect, we’re up 18% from the year prior, which was pre-COVID.”

Davis says the average yearly rise in calls is about 4%. He says the higher numbers now come from many factors, including a growing population and COVID-related calls.

“We’re seeing sick people,” Davis said. “We also believe, in Charlotte County, that a lot of people didn’t return to their northern homes.”

Davis says more patients are needing medications during transport.

“There’s no doubt that, with responding to potential COVID emergencies or respiratory emergencies, which is really what COVID is, that there is an increase in the use of oxygen for these patients,” Davis said.

Increasing calls means first responders are taking extra steps to protect themselves.

Davis told us it is critical for everyone to take safety precautions seriously in order to help cut down on these rising numbers. He recommends social distancing, masks and washing your hands often.

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