COVID one of the reasons nine EMS ambulances will be shut down this weekend

HONOLULU (KHON2) — An unusually large number of city ambulances were down during Sunday’s midnight shift, with nine of 21 ambulances offline due to short staffing. Honolulu Emergency Services Director Dr. Jim Ireland said factors include sick leave due to COVID-19.

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Saturday evening’s EMS briefing included plans to cover nine ambulance units that would be closed for shifts starting at midnight Sunday.

Dr. Ireland said, “Overnight we did not see an increase in response times, we did not see call drops, but obviously you know this is not an ideal situation for us, and I think in the long term we will see a huge What is needed is a buffer of personnel.”

Reasons for closing the nine units included planned holidays, on-the-job injuries and staff illness. While some of those sick employees reported COVID-19 as a cause, Dr. Ireland said he is beginning to see an increase in the spread of COVID in the department.

He said, “Unfortunately Covid will not go away. “We can mitigate it as best we can but it is still there.”

The department was successful in bringing five ambulances online by 7 am on Sunday, three of which were from private company AMR.

Five units were closed in Sunday afternoon shift. Sunday is usually a slow day for ambulance transport but EMS worked with the Honolulu Fire Department to rescue two people. Treating a man on a Makaha Trail who fell approximately 20 feet while riding an electric bike and air rescue of an injured hiker at Kokoo Head.

There is never a shortage of EMS calls for treatment, and new recruits can’t get to work early enough.

Dr. Ireland said, “We recruit from KCC but we weren’t getting enough people and so now we recruit from KCC and we have our own academy which has actually doubled the number of people we can recruit into the department.” Able to bring.”

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Ireland said about 50 new employees will join the department over the next year; This will be the staffing needed for two new ambulances that will increase coverage in Honolulu.

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