LITTLE ROCK, Ark.- Frontline workers in Arkansas, specifically EMS first responders are bracing themselves for a possible COVID-19 surge following the holidays.
One medical transportation company said it has moved several patients out of state since Christmas to balance the caseload.
“EMS has seen a significant increase in caseload,” said Ken Kelley, CEO ProMed Ambulance.
Ken Kelley is the CEO of ProMed Ambulance and Governor of Affairs Chairman for the Arkansas Ambulance Association. He said the COVID calls after the holidays, show there was more spread than just holiday cheer.
“Our particular volume is up, anywhere from two to three times from what we experienced in the spring surge,” said Kelley.
A graph from Kelley, shows the spikes in the number of patient transports around the holidays.
Kelley said ProMed Ambulance gets at least two calls a day to transport a patient to a different hospital or even out of state.
“We haven’t received a report of a hospital being on complete closure or complete diversion. They have been overloaded and stressed,” said Kelley.
Kelley said since Christmas, they’ve transported patients from Jonesboro to St Louis. From El Dorado to Houston and from Lake Village to Jackson Mississippi.
“Balancing the load within facilities. We don’t want any of our facilities to be in what’s called ‘Surge capacity.’ Our hospitals have been working closely to balance the load between the regions,” said Kelley.
Kelley said from watching the numbers, he expects the call volume to increase for the next few weeks.
“We don’t see the caseload decreasing- we only continue to see the levels increase unless we begin to get more people vaccinated and we have people paying attention to the masking and social distancing guidelines,” said Kelley.