Seasonal influenza causes surge in 911 calls

Health officials said fewer ambulances are available to respond to emergencies due to a significant increase in calls

By EMS1 Staff

RIVERSIDE COUNTY, Calif. — An unprecedented number of flu calls has resulted in a strain of resources, according to officials.

KESQ reported that the Riverside County EMS Agency and Inland Counties Emergency Medical Agency have reported a spike in flu-related calls and ambulance transports, with an increase in delays at hospitals.

The county said ambulance requests rose 31 percent during the week of Dec. 24.

“It’s important to remember that 911 is for serious or life-threatening medical and psychiatric emergencies,” EMS medical director Dr. Reza Vaezazizi said. “This is always true, and especially pertinent in our current situation.”

Local hospitals are reminding residents to not go to the emergency room with flu-like symptoms, and also recommended getting a flu shot.

“The flu is definitely spiking in both Riverside and San Bernardino counties, and our residents need to protect themselves," public health officer Dr. Cameron Kaiser said. "If you're sick, take care of yourself and don't go to work or school. And if you're not sick and you haven't gotten a flu shot yet, you should."



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