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COVID-19 among reasons for out-of-service Honolulu ambulances

Honolulu Emergency Services is seeing an increase of COVID-19 cases in the department

By Bill Carey

HONOLULU — An unusually high number of Honolulu ambulances were placed out-of-service due to low staffing on Sept. 24 and COVID-19 is cited as one of the reasons.

Sick leave due to COVID-19 was among the reasons why nine of the city’s 21 ambulances were closed at the start of the midnight shift, KHON2 reported.

“Overnight we did not see an increase in response times, we did not see calls dropped, but clearly it is not an ideal situation for us,” Honolulu Emergency Services Director Dr. Jim Ireland said. “I think in the long-term we need a bigger buffer of personnel.”

Ireland said planned vacations and injuries were also among the reasons but some of those who called in sick reported COVID-19 as a reason. He added that he is seeing an increase of COVID-19 in the department.

The department was able to have five of the nine out-of-service ambulances on the streets later in the day. Three of those were AMR ambulances.