HEMSI paramedics want community members to be mindful


HUNTSVILLE Ala.- Local Medical Service provider HEMSI says the COVID-19 caused a strain on their field of work that they were able to overcome. But now, HEMSI is asking the community to follow Covid-19 state guidelines.

HEMSI CEO Jon Howell says the recent surge in COVID-19 cases, especially in Madison County, has him worried. “I’m concerned that as we move forward in this last month of the year that we’re gonna have enough staff to keep enough ambulances on the road,” said Howell. “And that our call volume, while it diminished early in the pandemic, it is it is essentially returned with a vengeance.”

Howell expressed that the fuller the hospitals get, the harder his staff members have to work. They move patients from different facilities or beds for treatment, and HEMSI is preparing for the brunt of this surge.

“Our volume took a break a little bit over Thanksgiving, but right now we’re kind of just sitting back and waiting, anticipating for it to come roaring back this week,” said Howell. According to Huntsville Hospital CEO David Spillers, the numbers from the Holiday are not in yet. He believes those cases will probably start showing up in our hospitals in two weeks.

With the spike, Spillers anticipates that these current cases will roll into the Christmas Holiday and we could see could see the negative effects for some time, “Short story is we’re expecting this surge to last a while.”

With this news, Howell, HEMSI CEO, says his top priority is to make sure his staff can provide adequate and proper care. “The old adage of many hands make light work is very true in our industry. So we we’re trying to put on additional staff beyond what we normally do to help distribute our workload and minimize the workload for those of employees who are here. If they have a little bit lighter of a load, we’re hopeful that they can be more diligent to take all the precautions that they need to.”

Howell added that we saw a dip in numbers early on in the pandemic and the public needs to remember to stay six feet apart, sanitize their hands and wear a mask, “I know we’re all tired of hearing it, but it needs to be done.”

Currently, HEMSI has 18 staff members who are in quarantine after either being in close contact with the someone who had virus, contracted it, or are awaiting results.

Howell has one request for anyone who needs their services: “We ask that when you make a 911 call, that you disclose if anyone in your house hold or you have come into contact with Covid-19, so we can treat our patients properly and keep our staff safe.”

The state of Alabama is currently under the latest Safer at Home health order, which includes a mask order, through December 11.

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