BAKERSFIELD,Calif. — Extra help is on the way to Kern County after Hall Ambulance told Public Health they were struggling to keep up.
"Beginning July 26 which is Sunday, Liberty Ambulance will be providing ongoing coverage to assist and the state is deploying two ambulance strike teams," said Matt Constantine, Kern County Public Health Director. They will be posted here through the weekend.
According to Hall Ambulance, for the past two-to-three weeks, they have seen a large surge in the number of covid positive or suspected covid patients they've had to transport.
Officials estimate they've transported 1,000 patients so far during the pandemic.
According to the company, they weren't seeing this many calls a few months ago.
In March, Hall Ambulance says it's call volume had dropped by a third compared to last year, but then a surge hit.
"It started in June, where we transported 352 patients and in July where we still have a week left of this month, but we are at 385 and counting," said Corum.
Corum says it is taking a large amount of time, to transfer patients to hospitals.
Sometimes it takes up to four hours to get patients inside hospitals.
The county also shared that they will be contracting nurses from the state to be brought in as well.
On top of that, once patients are in the hospital they have to decontaminate the ambulance before it can be used again.
Which also slowed down their response time.
"Last weekend was a nightmare with the response and call volumes," Corum said. "We started working and doing two things starting tomorrow at 9 a.m. and we are working with the state EMS authority to get two ambulance strike teams. This will provide a response for the area and each team has five ambulances and a supervisor."
Hall Ambulance services cover 80 percent of Kern County's population
Now, they have asked for additional backup to address the increase of service.
Originally our process took about three hours with their personnel to complete a de-contamination," Corum said. "Now, we are able to with new technology to get it down to an hour."