Pandemic weighs on EMS services in Minnesota


December 4, 2020

Aaron Lavinsky – STAR TRIBUNE

A woman, having a suspected COVID-19 related medical emergency, was helped by emergency first responders including, from left, Coon Rapids firefighter Darin Jahnke, and Allina Health paramedics Kelsey Cook and Dan Lennartson. ] AARON LAVINSKY • Emergency medical workers and physician Andrew Stevens responded to possible COVID-19 related calls on Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2020 in the north Twin Cities metro.

Paramedics thought the pandemic would mean emergency crews racing to help patients in respiratory distress.

EMS traffic was slow in the spring. But in the fall, the second COVID surge boosted emergency runs and has now pumped up trips between hospitals to create space for those critically ill with COVID-19.

"You would sit around for a long time without calls coming in, because everyone was staying in - everyone was kind of scared of doing stuff," paramedic Devin Orchard said Wednesday after bringing a patient to Mercy Hospital in Coon Rapids.


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