Frontline and healthcare workers like the paramedics, hospital staff, firefighters, and police officers are getting infected with the pandemic coronavirus. They are placing their lives at risk every hour as they do their duty. Their task cannot be completed from home. Therefore, many of them are now showing symptoms of the illness.
COVID-19 is spreading rapidly even among frontline workers. Currently, in New York, the NYPD report that roughly 20% of their uniformed staff is sick and some even died due to coronavirus infection.
First responders need COVID19 supplies like personal protective equipment. Unfortunately, there is an insufficient supply of PPE across the world. Therefore, there are increasing cases of first responders getting contracted by coronavirus.
Due to the nature of job, first responders are widely exposed as they handle people having coronavirus. Firefighters are team workers, so physical distancing is hard. They often live together even in shifts of 24 hours. They share close contact on their run, so if one person contracts COVID-19 then the whole group gets quarantined.
How many first responders will get affected?
It is unpredictable. It depends on consistent access to personal protective equipment. Their personal health gets deteriorated because of the high-stress level and working long hours. The current situation indicates that PPE is hardly available in the hospitals, so the overall health of frontline workers will possibly get affected.
When staffing will become insufficient?
In healthcare industry staffing is always a problem. There are backup plans to handle the absence of sick staff or in situations, more hands are required. Recruitment agencies are called to fill the gap of a sick worker.
Even medical students still graduating are called for help. In hospitals, fewer hands mean delays during emergencies. For example, a hospital capable to take care of 200 patients needs to help 500 patients then you will need to wait longer. It is a challenging situation.
In the police department, high-ranking officers work from their headquarters but in the pandemic situation, they require to be on the street. There are more cops and ambulances needed in the hotspot zones.
The FEMA [federal emergency management agency] sends help. In places where there are high volume calls private clinics are picked to answer the calls. It is called a mutual-help. If the work increases and is beyond the reach of FEMA retired doctors are pushed out.
The system is fragile and not intended to operate like this. Currently, 25% of frontline workers are reported sick but if it reaches 50% then there is no backup plan.
Telehealth calls are promoted
Telemedicine methods are currently promoted because less staff is needed in case a couple of workers get sick. The doctors don’t want patients experiencing COVID-19 symptoms like fever, cough, or breathe shortness visiting them. The staff and other patients can get infected. It is better to discuss their health issues through telehealth technology to identify whether a test is needed or not.
Doctors specializing in any discipline are called to help because in this pandemic the health system is struggling hard. A dermatologist may need to work in the ICU, so don’t get nervous because there are different doctor types treating coronavirus. It is the need of the hour!