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Onslow County seeking state help as COVID-19 impacts EMS workers

Published: Aug. 2, 2021 at 3:47 PM EDT|Updated: Aug. 2, 2021 at 5:02 PM EDT
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ONSLOW COUNTY, N.C. (WITN) - Onslow County today asked that the State Ambulance Strike Force be deployed to Jacksonville.

Staffing levels for Onslow County Emergency Medical Services have reached a “critical level” with ten employees out due to COVID-19, the county says.

Emergency Services Director Norm Bryson said he is concerned that staffing shortages could have a significant impact on answering emergency calls.

He said call volume is up 9.2% over the past two years, with many of those calls coming in at night. Bryson said that makes response times longer in many cases.

Onslow EMS is also implementing a mask mandate for staff as well as daily COVID-19 testing.

Onslow County Sheriff, Hans Miller said they are also impacted by employees not being able to work because of the virus.

North Carolina Emergency Management is currently processing the county’s emergency request for help.

Over the past week, Onslow County saw five additional deaths due to the virus, and 499 new cases. The percent positive rate of tests now stands at 12%, a jump from 9.7% a week ago.

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