VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — COVID-19 continues to take a toll on first responders still working to save critical patients as the pandemic rages on.
Kyle Hanrahan is a senior paramedic with Virginia Beach EMS.
He says they’re seeing what first responders and health care workers all over the country are seeing: Patients who are critically ill - and the vast majority are unvaccinated.
“Feels a lot like Groundhog Day,” he said.
Some of the most stressful days for Hanrahan came early on as he sent friends out into the unknown.
“They’re not just coworkers — they’re family, they’re friends, and potentially sending them into an area where they could get sick or get their family member sick, that did have a heavy toll mentally,” he said.
Virginia Beach EMS workers are equipped with their own personal protective equipment (PPE) bags that contain a gown, N95 masks, goggles and a face shield.
The N95 mask “became the most important piece of our equipment in our daily check-off,” explained Hanrahan.
“We’re still seeing many, many patients that are not vaccinated — those right now are the main deaths,” he said.
Even through this trying time, Hanrahan says the one thing COVID-19 hasn’t had an impact on is the number of volunteers giving their time to support their community - a testament to how important it is for them to give back to the community they love.
Even with safe and effective vaccines, they’re still on guard and may always be.
“I’m not as worried as I was a year and a half ago, but it’s definitely still in the back of my mind that I don’t want to — I don’t want to get sick, and I don’t want to get any of my patients sick or especially my loved ones,” said Hanrahan.
The message to the public continues to be: Take the shot that could save you before they have to.
“I would say get vaccinated. There’s more proof that it’s going to do good than harm, and that doesn’t mean you’re not gonna get COVID, but you may not be as sick as if you were not vaccinated,” he said.