EMS to public: Don’t call 911 unless you have an emergency

EMS to public: Don’t call 911 unless you have an emergency

HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Honolulu’s Emergency Services Department is averaging about three calls an hour for coronavirus concerns ― and it will rise.

Since Thursday, paramedics and EMTs have responded to more than 250 suspected COVID-19 cases.

“Right now, we’re seeing an uptick in calls from people who are concerned that they themselves have COVID or their family members have COVID,” said Korey Chock, Honolulu EMS chief of operations.

He said the department’s resources are limited ― with just 21 ambulances to cover all of Oahu. The number of ambulances drop to 19 at night.

Chock said misuse of the system costs critical time in responding to real emergencies.

"We had a lady this morning call us and ask us to pick up her medication for her because she was too scared to leave her house, things of that nature," he said.

He said emergency calls should be kept to heart attacks, strokes, breathing difficulties, severe bleeding or severe trauma incidents.

“We’re just asking people if it’s not life-threatening there’s a lot of options out there. Contact your doctor, clinic, Queen’s help line and 211,” paramedic supervisor Laura Kumamoto said.

If you really suspect your illness is coronavirus-related, alert the dispatcher so paramedics and EMTs are prepared.

Chock hopes people follow stay-at-home guidelines to decrease the chance of emergencies.

“Our resources are very limited,” he said.

The Queen’s Medical Center has set-up a call line to answer questions related to COVID-19. The number is (808) 691-2619.

You can also either call or text questions to Aloha United Way’s 211 community information and referral service.

Copyright 2020 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.