National EMS Week is an annual event throughout the United States which celebrates and recognizes the hard work that all EMS providers do on a daily basis – from emergency medical technicians (EMTs) up to paramedics. These EMS providers can be paid, volunteer or a both (but at different agencies). No matter what the level, just remember that this person made a conscious decision to help someone in need, even while putting themselves (and/or their loved ones) at increased risk.
During this ongoing COVID-19 pandemic across the country, the acts of courage, dedication and compassion could not have been clearer. On the east coast, New York, New Jersey and Connecticut contributed a large percentage of the total cases and deaths in the United States. To look even deeper, New York City (at the epicenter of New York State and the United States) and its EMS system was deeply impacted.
Journal of Emergency Medical Services
Jeremy Emerich, a critical care EMT on the ground for Lehigh Valley Health Network’s MedEvac, died Thursday following a battle with COVID-19, friends and coworkers said on social media.
Emerich was also a U.S. Armed Forces veteran and an active firefighter in Fleetwood, the Berks County community where he lived with his companion, Shana Konek. He was 40.
His death comes about six weeks after his brother, 30-year-old Reading resident Liborio Lara, died -- also from the coronavirus illness, The Reading Eagle reported.
Emergency responders from across the region lined Route 222 on Thursday afternoon as Emerich’s remains were taken to Bean Funeral Home in Sinking Spring, Berks County, which handled arrangements for Lara, as well. A MedEvac helicopter joined the procession overhead.
For decades, the backbone of the nation’s disaster response system — and a hallmark of American generosity — has been its army of volunteers who race toward danger to help shelter, feed and counsel victims of hurricanes, wildfires and other calamities.
However, the COVID-19 pandemic has exposed a critical weakness in this system: Most volunteers are older people at higher risk from the virus, so this year they can’t participate in person. Typically more than 5 million volunteers work in disaster relief annually, said Greg Forrester, president of National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disasters, an association of nonprofit groups, but this year he expects the number to decline by 50 percent.
Asked how disaster relief efforts can meet the usual demand with half as many people, Mr. Forrester said: “You won’t.”
The New York Times
The McKinney Fire Department will be at Belterra Health and Rehab on Friday morning, testing 200 residents and staff members for the novel coronavirus in an effort to curb its spread.
This is the first testing related to Governor Greg Abbot’s Strike Force Plan to Open Texas, according to the department. As part of that plan, members of the fire department will also train firefighters from neighboring communities on how to conduct testing in the cities where they work.
“The McKinney Fire Department is working hard to prevent the spread of COVID-19, especially through nursing homes and similar facilities where people are most at risk,” McKinney Fire Department EMS Chief Charlie Skaggs said in a news release. “We hope our training will also help neighboring communities in their fight to protect residents.”
The Dallas Morning News
In new guidance for mathematical modelers and public health officials, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is estimating that about a third of coronavirus infections are asymptomatic.
The CDC also says its "best estimate" is that 0.4% of people who show symptoms and have COVID-19 will die, and the agency estimates that 40% of coronavirus transmission is occurring before people feel sick.
The agency cautions that those numbers are subject to change as more is learned about COVID-19, and it warns that the information is intended for planning purposes. Still, the agency says its estimates are based on real data collected by the agency before April 29.
The numbers are part of five planning scenarios that "are being used by mathematical modelers throughout the federal government," according to the CDC.