FDNY plea as COVID surges, staffing plummets: Please only call 911 for emergencies

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Virus Outbreak New York Hospitals

FDNY paramedics place an empty collapsible wheeled stretcher into an ambulance after delivering a patient into the emergency room at NewYork-Presbyterian Lower Manhattan Hospital, Wednesday, March 18, 2020, in New York. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

NEW YORK — With almost a third of emergency medical services on medical leave and COVID cases on the rise around New York, the FDNY on Wednesday pleaded with people to only call 911 for emergencies.

“New Yorkers – ambulances do not provide testing for COVID-19, and patients are not transported to a hospital to be tested upon request,” the department tweeted. “Transport decisions are made based on medical needs.”

As of Wednesday, 30% of EMS workers and 17% of firefighters were on medical leave, officials said. FDNY Commissioner Daniel Nigro said the sick calls were affecting the department.

It’s not the first time the FDNY has asked people to only call 911 for emergencies. At one point in April of 2020, the department was responding to nearly 6,000 calls a day.

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