The Rolla Daily News, Mo.
Gov. Mike Parson Friday announced that Missouri is tripling the number of mutual aid ambulances that provide long-haul patient transfers to help reduce the rising COVID-19 caseloads straining hospitals.
Thirty ambulances and more than 60 trained personnel are scheduled to begin arriving in five regions of the state Friday, according to a news release from the governor’s office.
“The ambulance strike teams we positioned in Springfield have been extremely effective in helping save lives and ease the pressure on local hospitals,” Parson said. “These 30 new ambulance teams triple our transport capacity and expand it to the entire state, as needed. Our health care professionals are performing heroically to save lives as the Delta variant dramatically increases hospital admissions. We will continue to support our health care heroes across the state.”
The new ambulance strike teams, provided in response to a request to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, include 20 advanced life-support ambulances, five basic life-support ambulances, five specialty care ambulances and required medical and support personnel.
The governor’s office expects the new ambulance strike teams to begin transporting patients as early as Saturday. The teams are tasked with operating anywhere there is a critical need in Missouri through Sept. 5.
Ambulance strike teams will initially be positioned in the Kansas City area, northeast Missouri, southwest Missouri, south-central Missouri, and northwest Missouri and have the ability to move as needed.
Thirteen federally-provided life support ambulances in southwest Missouri will replace the 10 ambulances provided through the Arkansas Division of Emergency Management and an Emergency Management Assistance Compact request from the Missouri State Emergency Management Agency.
The Arkansas teams will depart for home Friday.
Since they began working in Missouri, the 10 ambulances have logged more than 53,000 miles on 223 patient transports. Some of those transports required roundtrips of seven to nine hours or more.
“Delta is the most aggressive and transmissible variant of COVID-19, and it is more important than ever to take advantage of the highly effective vaccines,” Parson said. “Vaccination is the best way to prevent serious illness from COVID-19. Vaccinations are free and available across the state, often with no appointment necessary, and vaccinated Missourians will have their shot at $10,000 cash or $10,000 toward an education saving account. Enter at mostopscovid.com/win.”
According to the governor’s office on Friday, the Missouri Disaster Medical Assistance Team will continue to staff the state-run Monoclonal Antibody Centralized Infusion Center in Springfield.
It reduces the strain on hospitals by treating COVID-19 patients who otherwise would require treatment in a hospital setting.
Through Thursday, Missouri Disaster Medical Assistance Team staff have treated 243 patients at the infusion center since it opened on July 23.
Monoclonal antibodies are proteins that can help an individual’s body fight off COVID-19 and reduce the risk of severe disease and hospitalization — if administered to high-risk patients soon after diagnosis.
The southwest Missouri ambulance strike teams and monoclonal antibody infusion facility were part of a resource request made to the state of Missouri by Greene County on July 14.
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