Surge in COVID-19 cases creates staffing shortages for first responders
The recent surge in COVID-19 cases across Long Island is creating critical staffing shortages for first responders.
As Long Island continues to see a big spike in new COVID cases from the Omicron variant, first responders are also starting to see an impact.
“There's clearly been an uptick recently. The amount of calls that we're getting, the amount of people getting infected - we see that across the board. It has affected staffing,” says Chief Gregory Miglino, of South Country Ambulance.
He says that his staff is about 50% sick.
Miglino says also federal and state vaccine mandates are also affecting staffing shortages and that inconsistent messaging regarding quarantine durations isn't helping the situation either.
"We cannot punish our way out of this pandemic," Miglino says. "We need to work together to make sure we bring every bit of resources we have from personnel to equipment to bear."
To make up for staff shortages, many agencies are asking members who are already working to work more. That means overtime for weeks or even months.
Northwell Health Operations Manager Cono Cimino says he and other front-line workers will continue to step up wherever need in the fight against the coronavirus.
"They make a difference," Cimino says. "They're tired from this unforgiving virus, but they keep coming to work here every day."