Ambulance services reaching record-high 911 calls this flu seaso - KPTV - FOX 12

Ambulance services reaching record-high 911 calls this flu season

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Emergency rooms and clinics in the Portland metro area are packed with flu patients, and now ambulance services are becoming overloaded.

Officials with Metro West told FOX 12 their 911 calls are higher this flu season in Washington County than in year’s past.

Paramedics said that since mid-December, they’ve seen a major spike in emergency calls.

This time last year, paramedics were also dealing with calls relating to weather, but according to Metro West’s statistics, calls are already higher this January, with no severe weather, than in January 2017.

“Our call volume is extremely up. There’s been an influx over the last couple of weeks," Danyel Hornaday, a senior paramedic with Metro West, said, "I think, where we’re constantly running back to back to back."

MORE: ER nurse: Keep an eye on kids as flu season spikes

The paramedics from Metro West said they’re prepared and are taking extra precautions to keep themselves from becoming patients.

“We are going through a lot of sani-wipes. We have to decontaminate all of our equipment," Hornaday explained. "Everything inside this ambulance, the gurney, anything and everything that they touch."

Metro West officials said they’ve added three to five extra units each day due to call volume.

“Most of the time we can manage to catch up, but there are definitely some days when you can feel kinda stretched,” Aliesha Christner, another senior paramedic with Metro West, said.

MORE: Oregon physicians urge flu patients to call first due to overcrowding

Call volume is also up across Multnomah County, according to American Medical Response’s operations manager.

He told FOX 12 the service has also seen a steady increase and has been deploying extra units in response, though not at the record-high levels Metro West is experiencing.

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