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Local paramedics feeling strain of pandemic

Paramedics are feeling the impacts of the virus, they along with doctors and nurses are also dealing with a shortage.

Posted: Nov 11, 2020 11:21 PM
Updated: Nov 12, 2020 9:09 AM

(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.)  Paramedics and EMTs are seeing the effects of Covid-19 in St. Joseph they say it’s keeping them busy.

Wallace Patrick, the executive director of Buchanan County EMS, said he’s seen many signs of rising cases here locally.

"With the increase in testing that we’re seeing, we’re finding more positive cases," Patrick said. 

Patrick said the rise has an effect on their service, mainly on turnaround times for each ambulance.

Each time an ambulance is used for transport, it's decontaminated according to Patrick. This is a process that's become more involved since the pandemic.

Special devices with ultraviolet light are used to fight off germs. 

The safety measures are done to protect not only the patients, but also EMTs and paramedics.  Much like other occupations in the medical field, the EMT field is also seeing a shortage.

Patrick said while some of his staff members have been infected, the virus hasn’t significantly impacted the local EMS so far.

"We’re very grateful that we’ve not had a large outbreak within our workforce," Patrick said "We’re kinda keeping our fingers crossed."

Patrick said they’re focusing on prevention of transmission, and urging the public to do the same.

"[The virus] is out there and its not gonna go away unless we all participate in this situation," Patrick said. 

Patrick said CARES funding provided the funding for the purchase of multiple UV-C light devices used for sterilizing ambulances. 

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Dangerous heat will move into the area today with highs reaching the upper 90s to triple digits. Heat index values will likely be between 100-106. Use caution when spending time outside this afternoon. Hot and humid conditions will continue on Friday with highs back in the upper 90s and lower 100s with heat index values reaching triple digits. A cold front will move through the area Friday afternoon into the evening bringing the chance for a few showers and thunderstorms. Scattered rain chances will continue through the weekend with highs in the lower 90s. Highs in the 80s will return for the beginning of next week.
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