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Record number of emergency calls in Arkansas as Covid-19 resurges again, report



Little Rock, Arkansas – As the number of new Covid-19 cases increases every day in the state, the central Arkansas emergency response service (MEMS) says they are facing problems with record number of calls in the last few days.

The number of calls has increased since last August, but it spiked lately as the Covid-19 cases raises again.

“We’re having record volumes right now,” said executive director Greg Thompson.

According to him, there is an increase of 20-30% daily. Although not all calls are Covid-19 related, their service is experiencing difficulties in operating in day-to-day basis. In order to meet the number of calls, Thompson said they increased the number of staff to respond to all calls. Thompson himself says he even takes calls on the weekends.

“The other factor to that is because the volume is so high, not just for the ambulance services but for hospitals period,” he said. “Now as we see more people being hospitalized, it’s more difficult to be able to get your patient off your cot once you get to the hospital.” He adds that it takes two to three times longer than usual.

Capacity is a concern for hospitals like UAMS. Chancellor Dr. Cam Patterson says it’s an opportunity for the public to play their part in helping the issue in emergency departments.

“Right now the emergency room is tight, but it’s not overcrowded,” he adds. “But this is a moment when people need to be judicious about using resources like emergency rooms if other ways of accessing healthcare are available.”

Thompson also asks the public to take care of themselves. He urges everyone to get vaccinated and take care of their health as that’s the only way we can all go through the pandemic. There are available regular hospital beds as well as ICU beds, but they might be easily taken if we don’t put into control the latest Covid-19 wave.

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