911 COVID-19 calls flood San Francisco, officials say

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Medical services are still enduring the effect of the virus surge, but non-emergent calls are now swamping officials, KRON4 reported.

There had been a notable spike in 911 calls for minor virus symptoms, the San Francisco Fire Department noted, and even a test is being phoned to them.

Now, emergency medical service leaders are requesting people to only use the 911 hotline for emergency situations.

They said that there has been about a 20 to 25 percent spike in call volume in the last few days. The supply and demand issue is affected as the department’s own personnel are infected as well.

“Please do not go to an emergency room for a test,’ one official asked.

People are now requested by health officials not to flood the system.

Even virus tests, flu, and minor cold or COVID symptoms are on the rise, not only at 911 calls but also in emergency room visits.

“We’ve been having over 400 EMS calls a day in the city for the past several days — typically the number hovers around 300 or 330,” according to SFFD Chief Jeanine Nicholson.

While the Zuberberg General Hospital is tremendously busy, its Chief Executive Officer Susan Ehrlich said it was the first time they recorded an overwhelming visit.

“People are coming to emergency departments seeking testing because I think the demand is high and in some circumstances the supply is low,” Ehrlich said.

About 10 percent of the staff in EMS and Zuberbeg General Hospital are under quarantine as they were considered close contacts of the infected persons, or are infected themselves.

The staff also faces shortages as some are sick, on personal days, or on vacation.

The struggle is felt especially in handling the tasks needed to be delivered.

“Over one-third of our staff today is on mandatory overtime,” Nicholson said.

People are now reminded by health officials that the majority of the virus cases are not serious and can be treated at home.

“We’re already in some challenging waters, and we really don’t want it to get any worse.”