Northern Utah (ABC4) – According to the Weber-Morgan Health Department’s COVID-19 dashboard, there have been more than 42,000 cases of COVID-19 in Weber County. Currently, there are over 700 active cases in Ogden. For first responders in Ogden, this comes as no surprise. COVID-19 related calls for EMS are up 29 percent from where they were last year.
From dispatchers to paramedics, to firefighters, the pandemic continues to put first responders to the test in Ogden City as EMS calls continue to increase.
“Compared to last year, COVID type calls, so people that have covid type symptoms, we’re up 29 percent,” Ogden Deputy Fire Chief Mike Slater told ABC4. Slater explained that the 29 percent increase (year-to-date) in COVID-19 calls plays a major role in the uptick in total EMS calls. He said all EMS calls are up 10 percent.
So far this year, the department has responded to more than 700 EMS calls that were COVID-19 related. He told ABC4 most of these are people who are unvaccinated. However, he said they are seeing some breakthrough cases as well. More often than not, he explained, those cases end up being in a home with both vaccinated and unvaccinated residents.
Responding to more calls creates challenges with staffing, but Slater explained that it is also taking longer to respond to calls, which doesn’t help with staffing.
“Our inter-facility transfers, we’re up one-and-a-half calls per day, so we’re taking more people out of the county, just trying to find open (hospital) beds, so it’s put a strain on EMS agencies within this county.”
“The guys are positive, they’re tired, they’re obviously on more calls so they’re exhausted,” stated Slater. “There is such a thing as COVID fatigue, and I think we all feel it; people in the community and even us first responders. The men and women who signed up to do this job, they knew that. They knew that there were going to be some stressing moments, trying moments, and they’ve just pushed through. They do their part to keep themselves safe and they’ve done their part to keep the community safe,” he adds.
As first responders continue to push through the pandemic, Slater told ABC4 they need the community’s continued help. The fire department asks people to do what they can to slow the spread of COVID-19.
“People are still getting sick from cardiac issues, diabetes, seizures, strokes, traffic accidents, and we’re still responding,” Slater said. “So, anything you do to help us reduce our workload, we greatly appreciate it.”