Ambulance crews back on high alert

With the rapid increase in the incidence of Covid-19, the Emergency Medical Service (NMPD) has raised its readiness status from Friday and the Emergency Management Group has resumed operating within the service, Ilze Buksa, the head of the NMPD Communication Department, informed LETA.

This decision was made in the light of epidemiologists' predictions of a rapid increase in the incidence of Covid-19, which also means a more rapid influx of Covid-19 patients to hospitals and significantly more difficult conditions in which the NMPD must ensure the hospitalization of patients.

In order for the NMPD to continue to ensure prompt arrivals to patients in life-critical situations, the NMPD Emergency Management Group has decided to tighten its assessment of calls to the emergency number 113.

"At the beginning of the year, when the incidence of Covid-19 rose rapidly in the country, we saw how significantly it affects the work and ability to respond quickly to calls - it takes much longer for the team to arrive at the scene, take the patient to the hospital and then prepare for the next call, which reduced the number of freely available crews," said Liene Cipule, director of the NMPD.

She is currently seeing similar risks. Therefore, in order to make sure the NMPD can reach people whose lives are in danger in time, calls to the emergency number will be assessed even more rigorously in the future.

Currently, around 1,000 calls are made by NMPD crews throughout the country, but in most cases patients did not have to seek medical attention from the emergency services, but from their family doctor, on-call doctor or the nearest medical institution.

Most often, such situations are associated with viral illnesses that occur without complications with fever, runny nose and cough, as well as chronic illnesses such as mildly high blood pressure or, in younger people, vegetative dystonia, as well as minor injuries.

The task of the NMPD is to save human lives. The priority are calls for medics to rush to the rescue of people whose lives are in danger, and where minutes are sometimes crucial.

The emergency telephone number 113 should be called immediately if the person is unconscious, if they are not breathing or if they have sudden breathing problems, severe trauma, severe bleeding, sudden and life-threatening illness - heart attack, stroke, etc. In such cases, NMPD teams will continue to respond immediately.

Stricter evaluation of calls is necessary, because the high incidence of Covid-19 significantly affects the work of NMPD teams, the service explains. For each call connected with Covid-19, the crews must get dressed in full protective equipment, after such calls it is necessary to perform additional disinfection of the equipment and emergency room.

The directions of hospitals are also changing and the distances which emergency crews have to transport patients to hospitals not only for Covid-19, but also in other cases, are significantly increasing. As a result, emergency teams are busy for much longer and the number of free crews, which can respond quickly to critical calls, is decreasing.

The NMPD encourages residents to seek medical help from their family doctor or the nearest medical institution when their health status is not critical.

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