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by Patty Cheffey
With both Hannibal Regional and Blessing Hospital having had to go on diversion because of a lack of beds, the Marion County Ambulance District has dealt with some logistic issues when transporting patients.
The number of calls along with the need to call in outside help were discussed during the Marion County Ambulance District Board meeting last week.
According to Chief John Nemes with the lack of beds in hospital due to COVID patients being a state-wide issue, federal help has been requested for several regions throughout the state, including Region B, of which Marion County is a part.
Per their request, two ALS Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Strike team trucks were relocated from Hannibal to Kirksville, Nemes said. Those were used to assist with inter-facility transfers and emergency calls.
“These units are on a 12-hour rotation so one will be locally available 24/6 to supplement our crews,” Nemes said. “The purpose of this is hospital ‘decompression’ due to COVID and it includes any patient, not just COVID-positive patients, being transferred out to free up resources such as beds, ventilators and pumps.
“We are still following our usual protocols and practices, especially with emergency or TCD patients, but we are using the strike team units to help take the load off both the hospital and our crews,” he added.
The strike team trucks are not able to take critical-care patients, Nemes said, so local crews are handling those.
The strike crews have now been relocated half to St. Charles and half to Osage Beach, they are still available to help in Marion County, he added.
In all, Marion County Ambulance District handled 563 calls for emergency service in July, up from the average of between 480 and 520 calls a month, Nemes said and higher than July 04 2020, when the district handled 537 calls.
Of those Hannibal Base 1 handled 271 calls; Base 2, 186 calls; and Palmyra 75 calls. Off duty or call-in crews handled 12 and Cardinal Glennon had 19 calls.
“To date we’re at 288 more calls than the same time period in 2020,” he added.