Wesley Chapel, Fl. - As coronavirus cases and hospitalizations spike, first responders are also seeing an increase of their own.

  • More paramedics and EMTs under quarantine
  • Ambulatory Services under more stress
  • First responders dealing with Covid-19 and other emergency calls

More paramedics and EMTs are ending up in quarantine.

The president of the Florida Ambulance Association Terence Ramotar told Spectrum Bay News 9 on Thursday it's the highest stress they've had since the pandemic started. “It's a moving target,” said Mr. Ramotar when asked about how many first responders are getting quarantined right now.  “Right, they're quarantined they get back on and then you have the next set that comes through.”

“We're seeing our services be impacted anywhere from 5 to 15% of their workforce,” he said.  “We have one (office) in Tampa, 150 employees; they have 20 out on quarantine. That's a significant hit to the workforce."

Ramotar said he believes infections among paramedics and EMTs are happening from Covid-19 patient contacts.

He mentioned a recent fatality, last week in South Florida of a coronavirus infection.

He said the EMT was a young man with no underlying conditions.

Mr. Ramotar attributes the stress to the system not just on Covid-19 related calls.

Other medical conditions that went unchecked and worsened because of lack of treatment are driving the numbers.

The paramedics association is also seeing a shift in the way people use ambulance services.

Ramotar said, anecdotally, people call 911 but don't want transport to hospitals in fear of Covid-19 infection.

While the ambulance services are not doing the transport, it also affects their budgets because that's how they get paid.

The ambulance association says right now they don't see a shortage of PPE or Personal Protective Equipment, but are cautious of case buildup in the coming weeks.

The cost to purchase PPE is also becoming more expensive.