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Flu Outbreak Keeping Kansas City Area Firefighters And Paramedics Busy

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Sam Zeff
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KCUR 89.3

We know that the flu outbreak around Kansas City is bad, and it's keeping doctors, emergency rooms and walk-in clinics hopping.

But local firefighters and paramedics are also carrying more of the load.

“I could say it’s probably increasing our call volume by 25 to 30 calls a day,” says Kansas City Fire Department Deputy Chief Tom Collins.

On an average day, KCFD responds to about 325 medical calls, according to Collins. So that's about a 10 percent increase in the department's caseload.

He says the total number of medical calls jumped 9.5 percent in December compared with a year earlier.

Some people panic and call 911 when a respiratory problem arises; others simply need a ride to the hospital.

“Most people don’t want to sit on the bus for three hours to try and get to the hospital or they don’t have the money for a taxi or an Uber to get there,” Collins says.

The flu also has led to an apparent increase in calls at MED-ACT in Johnson County.

"Calls for those signs that suggest the flu — there is an uptick in that," says MED-ACT spokeswoman Alyson Angell.

The KCK Fire Department says it has not seen an increase in flu related calls.

Sam Zeff  is KCUR's Metro Reporter. Follow him on Twitter @samzeff.

You deserve to know what your taxpayer dollars are paying for and what public officials are doing on your behalf – I’ll work to report on irresponsible government spending in the Kansas City area and shed light on controversies that slow government down. And when you hear my voice in the morning, you know you’re getting everything you need to start your day. Email me at sam@kcur.org, find me on Twitter @samzeff or call me at 816-235-5004.
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