in-ambulances,-an-unseen,-unwelcome-passenger:-covid-19

LOS ANGELES (AP)– It’s crowded in the back of the ambulance.

Two emergency medical technicians, the patient, the gurney– and a hidden and undesirable guest hiding in the air.

For EMTs Thomas Hoang and Joshua Hammond, the coronavirus is continuously close. COVID-19 has actually become their greatest worry throughout 24- hour shifts in California’s Orange County, riding with them from 911 call to 911 call, from patient to client.

They and other EMTs, paramedics and 911 dispatchers in Southern California have actually been thrust into the front lines of the nationwide center of the pandemic. They are scrambling to assist those in need as medical facilities burst with a surge of clients after the vacations, ambulances are stuck waiting outside medical facilities for hours up until beds become available, oxygen tanks remain in alarmingly short supply and the vaccine rollout has been sluggish.

EMTs and paramedics have always dealt with life and death– they make split-second decisions about client care, which health center to race to, the very best and fastest way to save somebody– and now they’re simply a breath away from ending up being the patient themselves.

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Emergency medical technician Joshua Hammond, 25, of Emergency Ambulance Service, drives an ambulance to his station in Placentia, Calif. Friday, Jan. 8, 2021. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

And so their day begins at 7 a.m.

Wearing masks, Hoang and Hammond clean their ambulance and equipment, cleaning down every surface even if the previous team scrubbed it currently.

They race to health centers currently overwhelmed with sick people, in some cases just to wait hours outside prior to their client can be admitted.

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” I was just in shock,” said Cortez, 26.

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