- As rising COVID cases leave hospitals overwhelmed, one Florida county is urging residents to think twice about calling 911.
- Brevard County, Florida, officials want people to avoid taxing ambulances with non-essential calls.
- The request comes as the county records a nearly 25% increase in COVID-related hospital admissions since last week.
The tenth-largest county in Florida is urging residents to consider other options before calling 911 amid an alarming surge of COVID-19 cases that has left all three hospital systems in the county over capacity.
Brevard County health officials and emergency services are asking people to avoid taxing ambulances with non-essential calls and resist seeking a COVID-19 test at the ER when other test sites are available.
In a Monday press release, Brevard County Emergency Director John Scott detailed the dire situation at local hospital emergency rooms, where doctors are inundated with COVID-19 patients as the Delta variant wreaks havoc in the Sunshine State.
The county’s hospitals have already canceled elective surgeries and converted regular space into COVID-19 areas to try and handle the surge, according to Scott, but are now reaching out to the public to ask for help reducing the bottleneck.
Orlando Dominguez, assistant chief of emergency medical service operations at Brevard County Fire Rescue and Emergency Management reiterated the county’s request on Wednesday.
“If you need to call us, call us. We will never refuse transport,” Dominguez told NBC News. “But we’re also conveying to the public that if you’ve fallen and might have hurt your knee or you have a cough, things like that, that are not emergent or urgent, they should follow up with their primary care physician or go into a walk-in clinic.”
Brevard County Fire Rescue and Emergency Management did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.
The stress on the hospital systems not only threatens treatment for those at the ER with coronavirus symptoms, Scott said, but also for non-COVID patients visiting the hospital for emergencies such as traffic accidents, heart attacks, and trauma patients.
“It is imperative that we pull together, we get through this and slow this curve to relieve the stress on our hospital system and our healthcare system so we can take care of everyone who gets sick,” Scott said.
He also urged residents to get vaccinated and tested in order to stop the spread.
The unprecedented request comes as the county recorded a nearly 25% increase in Covid-related hospital admissions last week, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data.
Emergency workers on the ground said the increase in COVID symptomatic patients in recent weeks rivals the height of the pandemic in 2020, according to the press release.
“What’s being conveyed to me is that there’s no more room,” Dominguez told NBC. “They’re at overcapacity. They’re full.”
Courtesy By INSIDER