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Emergency responders impacted by surge in COVID-19 cases



FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Emergency responders are being hit harder than ever by the surge in COVID-19 cases.

At Central EMS, not only is there an impact on the number of calls they respond to but also the severity of those calls.

Chief Becky Stewart said in 2020, her team at Central EMS responded to 868 COVID-19 related calls, most of those being from October to December. As of 2021, they’ve responded to 14 so far.

Their focal point every day is safety from the virus, whether they are seeing patients for things related to the virus or not.

“It’s not just oh maybe 5 percent of my day it’s that about 95 percent of my day is related to it,” Stewart said. “We’re taking people to the hospital knowing that might be the last time their family member sees them.”

As for other calls, Stewart said they are responding to people in much more serious conditions than normal because people are still putting off going to the hospital out of fear of catching the virus.