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Flu Outbreak Keeping Kansas City Area Firefighters And Paramedics Busy

Sam Zeff
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.

KCUR serves the Kansas City region with essential news and information.
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