LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY) — Acadian Ambulance covers most of Louisiana, a portion of Texas, and one county in Mississippi. Tuesday, they saw nearly 350 calls company wide due to COVID which makes up about 15% of their total calls. A month ago to the day, they received 33 COVID calls.

Operations Manager Jimmy Dupuy says, “The increase in COVID patients just adds to the normal emergencies we run everyday.”

To stay safe on calls, Dupuy says all staff is equipped with and required to wear the proper PPE in the presence of patients. “Safety for EMS and 1st responders is paramount due to if we get sick we can’t come in,” Dupuy explains. He says the COVID fatigue felt by first responders is a reality in this pandemic.

Dupuy continues, “With the increase in call volume and hospitals being over-run so to speak, there is burnout across the whole healthcare system.”

On the job for 30 years, he says these past two have been unprecedented. He says he has seen crews sit with their patients on stretchers at hospitals for two plus hours waiting for a bed. Dupuy explains, “Most hospitals are full, a lot of ERs are on divergent because they are at capacity or have staffing issues.”

Just last week, Dupuy says the ambulance service had to transport a ventilated COVID positive patient to the next available proper care facility. They transported for 13 hours to Tallahassee, Florida.

“With a trip like that, we need extra crew, extra supplies and oxygen. It is is large strain,” adds Dupuy.