Virginia Beach Emergency Medical Services sees spike in transported positive COVID-19 patients

Posted at 1:42 PM, Jul 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-16 17:46:34-04

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - Officials with Virginia Beach Emergency Medical Services are looking into a sharp spike in transporting positive COVID-19 patients for the first part of July.

News 3 spoke to staff with VBEMS about the latest numbers and how they are dealing with the pandemic.

According to its website, VBEMS operates the nation’s largest volunteer-based rescue system. They are the people who come to your aid in an emergency in the City of Virginia Beach.

“We have been blessed that our 500 volunteers still come to work every day and that's a testament to their drive to help patients,” said Deputy Chief Thomas Green. He said it's also a testament to the volunteers feeling protected with their personal protective equipment.

Green said from July 1 to July 11, VBEMS had 33 COVID-19 positive transports. He said that is more than in the entire month of June. They said there were 130 positive COVID-19 transports from March 15th until July 14th with 33 of those cases happening in the first 11 days of July.

“That was pretty alarming to us,” Green said.

VBEMS officials don't want people to become complacent, and Green used the recent numbers as an example of why everyone needs to continue to use precautions.

In the last few days, the numbers have not continued to climb. VBEMS is collecting data and doing some research to look into the recent spike.

COVID-19 has forced the department to change the way they respond to certain calls, especially in adult living facilities.

“Today, most of the nursing homes are bringing the patient right to the front door,” Green said. “Since this has happened, our lines of communication with our adult care facilities has tremendously improved.”

He said improved communication is a positive aspect to the pandemic. Different cities and agencies throughout the region are constantly talking and sharing information as they navigate through the pandemic.

“Regionally, I think that people ought to be proud to live here, because your public safety folks do talk. It's not siloed like you have in some major cities, so we're very blessed, even though we're separated by a tunnel,” Green said.