Calls to New York City’s 911 medical services hit their highest levels since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, according to emergency workers’ unions, stretching staffs that have already seen their own ranks thinned by coronavirus infections.
Medical emergency calls are up 40% to about 6,500 a day, according to Oren Barzilay, president of Local 2507, a union that represents emergency medical technicians, paramedics, fire inspectors and dispatchers.
“Our busiest day of the year, we usually do 5,000 calls. That’s usually New Years Day. We have shattered a record last night,” Barzilay said, attributing the surge to respiratory cases consistent with Covid-19 symptoms. “Due to the spike, we have some calls that are waiting three, four hours to get an ambulance.”
Emergency medical service, or EMS, employees expect this record will be shattered many times over in the coming weeks.