Coronavirus pandemic means fewer emergency calls for paramedics in some local cities

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STREETSBORO, Ohio (WJW) —    As the COVID-19 pandemic has unfolded, paramedics in Streetsboro and surrounding communities have been called out on fewer and fewer emergency calls.

In the 24-hour period between 8 a.m. Thursday and 8 a.m. Friday, they had only one call for service. With so many people staying home, there are fewer accidents, and in some cases, the way patients seek medical assistance has changed.

Streetsboro Fire Captain Kevin Grimm told FOX 8, “People are doing telemedicine and getting the satisfaction that they’re looking for through their family doctor over the telephone.”

As a result of the sharp decline in the number of patients visiting University Hospitals emergency departments, beginning at 7:00 a.m. Sunday, UH is temporarily shutting down its freestanding emergency departments in Twinsburg, Avon, Amherst, Broadview Heights and Kent.

UH issued a statement that reads in part, “Current patient volumes are down 50 percent at UH hospital-based emergency departments and more than 70 percent at UH freestanding emergency departments. Patients are seeking care in different ways that include phone or online virtual care and urgent care.” UH stresses that many of its suburban urgent care centers will remain open, and if needed, patients at those facilities can be transferred to UH hospitals.

*Read more stories on COVID-19, here*

Streetsboro fire officials say instead of transporting emergency room patients to Twinsburg, paramedics will be taking them to the UH Portage Medical Center in Ravenna, and the Ahuja Medical Center in Beachwood.

They say because the travel time to the medical centers is comparable to their runs to the ER in Twinsburg, they do not anticipate any greater risk for patients who need emergency care.

On a promising note, Streetsboro reports that emergency runs for coronavirus-related illnesses are dropping. “It’s unfortunate that people are getting sick and it’s even more unfortunate that people are dying from this, but if we don’t rush into getting out too fast come May 1st, I think we’re going to be in good shape,” said Captain Grimm.

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