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Coronavirus Surge Forces NE Ambulances to Transport Patients Hundreds of Miles Away

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The fall surge of coronavirus is causing ambulance companies to transport patients to destinations further away, according to a report by NET Nebraska.

Dr. Jim Smith, the medical director for Priority Medical Transport, in North Platte, told the station his eight crews are facing large call volumes. The service is already projecting one hundred more runs than last month.

“It’s hard on our crews,” Smith said. “We’re just working tirelessly.”

“There are transports to Denver, to Omaha, to Lincoln, to Hastings. We’re having to take them 200 to 300 miles away. Our crews have longer shifts [and more] overtime because they’re not making it back in time at the end of the shift.”

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Rick Sheehy, a senior manager for Midwest Medical, said his service has been handling up to 20 transfers a day. He said there was a time crews had to move an entire nursing homes when COVID-19 hit the facility.

“Our employees are exposing themselves to [the coronavirus] each and every day, so they really are considered heroes,” he said. “They’re willing to take that risk of taking care of a person before they think of themselves.”

Both companies report not a single one of their employees have contracted the virus because of precautions they’ve taken.