Johnstown EMS experience delays due to COVID-19

Coronavirus in Pennsylvania

JOHNSTOWN, Pa. (WHTM) — Ambulance services continue to work day and night as they respond to several more calls on a daily basis from COVID-19 patients.

In the Johnstown, Pa. area, 911 dispatchers are seeing a surge of four more coronavirus-related calls each day.

The problem is ambulances must return to the station to be sanitized between every run, and that can take up to 30 minutes.

According to Cambria County 911 Director Robbin Melnyk, this process prolongs the amount of time it takes for first responders to get to their next patient.

“Previously we could have an ambulance out to the hospital and ship them on their next call,” explains Melnyk, “where today we may not be able to send that ambulance on their next call until their back to their station.”

Also, EMS delays are being caused by the extra time taken for COVID-related calls.

The first responders have a variety of questions they must ask, as well as determining a patient’s symptoms, before being able to treat and/or transport the patients.


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