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FEMA sends ambulances to two WNC counties to address staffing shortages 

As COVID19 cases continue to rise and local residents have called on state representatives to assist county’s experiencing shortages, the North Carolina Department of Public Safety announced on Monday that 25 ambulances were being sent out to nine counties across the state to offer assistance.

In response to a resource request submitted to FEMA, nine counties across North Carolina will receive help in the form of 25 Advanced Life Support (ALS) ambulances each with a two-person crew of EMS providers.

The ambulances and crews have been assigned to assist nine county Emergency Medical Systems that are experiencing greatly increased calls for service during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“These ambulances and crews will provide necessary relief to our extremely busy EMS systems,” said North Carolina Emergency Management Director Will Ray.  “While it’s not the full complement we requested, we know medical resources are extremely limited across the nation right now, and we are grateful for this assistance from our federal partners.”

Hospitalization in the region remain high across Western North Carolina. As of 1:30 a.m. on Sept. 28 there are 152 COVID positive inpatients in Mission Health system; 126 at Mission Hospital; 8 at Angel Medical Center; 3 at Blue Ridge Regional Hospital; 12 at Mission Hospital McDowell; 3 at Transylvania Regional Hospital.

When speaking to the Highlands Board of Commissioners earlier this month, Warren Cabe, Director of Macon Emergency Services, expressed serious concerns regarding staffing and COVID19 surges within the county. 

“EMS currently has 8 full-time vacancies out of our 41 full-time positions,” said Cabe. “We have a large roster of part-time/as needed employees and through the use of those staff members and liberal use of over-time funds, we, for themes part, hav been able to maintain our existing levels of service through the month of August. Our staff is in contact almost daily with COVID patients and inevitably we will have staff hat need to be isolated and miss work due to illness.” 

Cabe cautioned that based on staffing, equipment, and the county’s current positivity rate, healthcare officials in Macon County are more concerned than ever. 

“I wanted to present all of these items to present my concerns that the pre-hospital healthcare system all the way from the call takers to the transport crews are as close to a single point of failure as I have ever seen in my career,” said Cabe. 

Since addressing Highlands leaders, Cabe said that the county’s emergency services department now has an additional vacancy bringing the total to nine. 

The ambulances arrived in North Carolina late Sunday and crews were provided with personal protective equipment and communications gear on Monday.  Most will begin work for their assigned counties today, Tuesday, September 28.

The number of ambulance crews assigned to each county follows:

The ambulances arrived in North Carolina late yesterday and crews were provided with personal protective equipment and communications gear today.  Most will begin work for their assigned counties tomorrow.

The number of ambulance crews assigned to each county follows:

•Brunswick County     2

•Franklin County         2

•Graham County          2

•Guilford County         3

•Macon County            2

•Mecklenburg County  5

•New Hanover County  4

•Pender County             2

•Robeson County          3

North Carolina submitted a request to FEMA on Sept. 10 for 40 Advanced Life Support and 10 Basic Life Support ambulances and crews.  These 25 ambulances and crews were provided in response to that request.

The ambulance crews will remain assigned to these counties for 10 days. After that period, needs will be reevaluated to see if changes are needed.

The Macon County Department of Public Health announced two additional COVID19 deaths on Monday one (1) between age 65-74 years old and one (1) over 75 years old, who were diagnosed with COVID-19 have passed away. These deaths brings Macon County to fifty-eight (58) deaths related to COVID-19.

 

 

2 Comments

  1. Sarah Hester Sarah Hester September 30, 2021

    “As COVID19 cases continue to rise and local residents have called on state representatives to assist county’s experiencing shortages, the North Carolina Department of Public Safety announced on Monday that 25 ambulances were being sent out to nine counties across the state to offer assistance.
    The ambulances and crews have been assigned to assist nine county Emergency Medical Systems that are experiencing greatly increased calls for service during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

    Macon Co. is asking health care workers to come risk their lives because residents have unduly overburdened the system with Covid cases…….And yet there is no encouragement to wear masks, much less mandate. And there is no reporting on the percentage of the population who have been vaccinated, or have tested positive.?

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