- Omicron’s surge resulted in 30% of emergency medical staff in New York being off work, reports say.
- The FDNY urges people not to call 911 unless it’s an emergency, with resources under pressure.
- The city saw 32,860 new cases of COVID-19 recorded on December 29.
Up to 30% of New York’s emergency medical workers are off work as 911 calls related to COVID-19 symptoms surge, Gothamist reported.
FDNY spokesperson Frank Dwyer told the news site that December 29 saw 30% of the city’s 4,400 EMS workers off sick, more than those taking sick leave at the beginning of the pandemic.
At the same time as these absences, the city is seeing high numbers of calls to emergency services, with 767 calls relating to COVID-19 symptoms recorded on December 26, Gothamist report.
“Our medical leave right now is 30% for EMS and 17% for fire personnel,” FDNY Commissioner Daniel Nigro told ABC News.
“Those numbers are even higher than they were back when we were at the height of the pandemic last March and April,” he continued.
He added that those off sick were people who had tested positive for COVID-19 and those awaiting results.
The FDNY is urging people not to call 911 unless it’s an emergency, with reminders that 311 is a nonemergency number.
“Our resources are impacted right now because of this, and we’re trying to make sure we prioritize those resources for folks who are really in a bad way and need our help,” Dwyer told Gothamist.
“If it’s not a true emergency, please don’t call 911. If it is a true emergency — like you’ve got shortness of breath, chest pains — absolutely call us.”
COVID-19 cases are surging in the city because of the Omicron variant, with 32,860 new cases recorded on December 29, The New York Times’ COVID-19 data tracker indicated.