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North Texas paramedics concerned over rise in COVID-related calls

As omicron sweeps across North Texas, local paramedics and EMTs are also seeing firsthand just how bad it's getting on a daily basis.

FORT WORTH, Texas — As omicron sweeps across North Texas, local paramedics and EMTs are also seeing just how bad it's getting on a daily basis.

So, just like hospital personnel, they're warning people because they're seeing so many sick people.

"Although not everyone who comes down with COVID ends up in the hospital," said Matt Zavadsky of MedStar. "There are still concerns from paramedics and EMTs about the number of cases we're now seeing."

Medstar Mobile Healthcare has 65 transport vehicles in circulation throughout Tarrant County. Their latest class of paramedics and EMTs are in the middle of training.

The trainees have been out on the road to drive their ambulances at least once. Eventually, they, too, will respond to emergency calls from 911 dispatchers, especially for people at home who believe they are sick from COVID-19.

Zavadsky said, "When the EMTs and Paramedics arrive on the scene they will begin an assessment of what's your medical history, what's your clinical presentation."

That clinical presentation will help determine if a patient needs to be transported to the hospital. Under the COVID non-transport protocol, patients showing low-acuity signs and symptoms of the virus are given educational materials and left at home.

"It really doesn't make any sense to have those people in the emergency room When there are so many other people clogging up the emergency room," said Zavadsky.

But paramedics are still concerned about how fast COVID is spreading right now. The number of non-transported COVID Patients is up 600% from November.

What's even more concerning is that in the first five days of the new year, the average number of people they've encountered at home has increased by 146 people per day.

Plus, paramedics are concerned January COVID cases will more than likely double the peak cases seen last August and September.

Zavadsky said, "We are not done with this yet, and It's probably going to get worse over the next week to ten days, so you can only imagine how bad it's going to be a week and a half from now."

To help reduce the number of COVID 19 infections in the Fort Worth area, MedStar is sponsoring its second vaccination clinic of the new year. The vaccines will be available free of charge on Jan. 14 from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the Medstar headquarters located at 2900 Alta Mere Drive in Fort Worth.

Anyone wanting their first, second, or third vaccination can pre-register at: https://usa.quickscreen.health/medstar-vaccination#/screening

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