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NEW ORLEANS (WGNO)— Today the city of New Orleans the city of New Orleans pointed out that New Orleans’ EMS department is facing staffing issues, more recently, because of COVID outbreaks.

According to Communications Director Beau Tidwell, “We were in a situation that we needed to bring on additional bandwidth or additional capacity for ambulances and ambulance drivers. We had to do that in an immediate way because obviously this is emergency response. And when it became clear on Friday that we didn’t have the staff, due to COVID outbreaks to meet the needs, we immediately moved to contract out to Acadian is I believe who we reached out to.”

NOLA EMS Director, Dr. Emily Nichols (WGNO-TV)

EMS Director Dr. Emily Nichols says there are other factors adding to the shortages, “Some have chosen to go work inside of hospitals, some have left medicine altogether because of the ongoing stress that this fatigue has brought to all health care workers.”

The manpower issues are internal, but there are external factors for weighing on EMS as well.

Dr. Emily Nichols NOLA EMS Director stated, “In addition to more people calling 911 about their fears for COVID and their other concerns that aren’t related to COVID are really adding a burden on to us at this time.

Tidwell offered how we can all pitch in, “What you can do for our 1st responders to help them in this time of extreme strain is to get vaccinated, that will help them in 6 weeks. What you can do right now to help them is wear a mask and maintain social distance.”

And with the system so stressed, Dr. Nichols offered this advice, “If you don’t think it’s an emergency then consider other ways in which you might be able to get medical resources”