Calls to 911 have hit a record in New York City, and it is straining the system at the worst possible time.
“The medical call volume for EMS in New York City over the past three days is the largest in our history,” Deputy Commissioner for Public Information Frank Dwyer said.
The department received more than 6,000 calls Thursday and expect to pass that number again Friday. According to Dwyer, a typical busy day consists of about 4,000 calls — meaning the department is dealing with about a 33 percent increase in calls every day. It has been the busiest three days of calls for EMS in the city’s history.
The FDNY says they are having to put calls on hold because the volume is so great. They are strongly urging New Yorkers to call only if they are having urgent emergencies, like heart troubles or problems breathing.
If they’re just a “regular” kind of sick, or have COVID-19 symptoms, they should contact a doctor or 311 (in NYC) first. Anything like cardiac arrest, stroke, choking or very troubled breathing would warrant a 911 call.
As of Friday afternoon, the FDNY was holding approximately 170 calls, but that fluctuates continuously. If someone is having a serious medical event, like a heart attack, they’re prioritized an ambulance — but if you have a less serious medical event you may be waiting for an ambulance.
“FDNY urges New Yorkers to only call 911 during a real emergency. Please allow first responders to assist those most in need. Only call 911 if you need help right away.”
FDNY urges New Yorkers to only call 911 during a real emergency. Please allow first responders to assist those most in need. Only call 911 if you need help right away.
As of Friday afternoon, New York City represents about 30 percent of the COVID-19 cases nationwide and more than a quarter of the U.S. deaths. ER doctors and nurses in the city have taken to social media to chronicle how overwhelmed their teams are.