Rise in COVID-19 cases impacts Central EMS responses

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FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) – An increase in COVID-19 cases is having an impact on Central EMS.

Assistant Chief Steve Harrison said not only is Central EMS responding to more COVID-19 related calls but he is also seeing sicker patients due to the virus.

Harrison said the station was once responding to 13-14 people with COVID-19 or COVID-19 related symptoms every week but it is not taking calls for up to 25 on a weekly basis. He said this is a concern because the more patients Central EMS responds to, the longer it can take to get to others.

“We’re seeing sicker people right now, so it could make a difference in if it took a long time,” Harrison said. “We have seen a number of people with this this second round that are dying with it.”

Harrison said he can tell if patients have received the vaccine versus if they have not and he hopes more Arkansans will get the shots because even if you do get the virus, your symptoms will be much more milder if you have been vaccinated.

If cases do continue to rise and it becomes more of a struggle to respond to everyone, Harrison said Central EMS does have a plan to partner with Springdale EMS to cover anything beyond Central’s capabilities.

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