LAS VEGAS (FOX5) -- Hospitals across Southern Nevada continue to face staffing shortages amid a surge of COVID-19 cases. Now, EMS workers are starting to feel the effects.
"We feel it just like other businesses within the valley," said Michael Johnson, the regional director of American Medical Response. "We are seeing a number of people that are going out ill."
Johnson said staffing shortages as a result of COVID-19 and other illnesses puts stress on employees who are on the clock, especially in a career where response time is key.
"There’s a number of different components to delivery of services that require a team approach, and because everyone on the team is feeling some of the impact from people going out sick across the board, the system, the EMS system is stressed," he said.
AMR's response time has not taken a hit yet. The average response time is 10 minutes and 54 seconds. They are obligated to response in less than 12 minutes.
"We're maintaining levels. It is causing a lot of stress on our personnel," he said. "It's causing them to work extra hours and overtime to make up for the deficiencies of personnel that are out."
AMR is trying to mitigate some of the stress by offering incentive and retention pay to hire and keep first responders. Johnson said as they try to do their part to alleviate the stress, the public can help, as well.
"Make sure that you're planning when you're not sick, on what you're going to do when you are sick. Don't wait until the last minute when you're very sick and call 911," he said. "Don't bombard the 911 system with a lot of symptoms that can be treated otherwise."
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