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See the latest news and updates about COVID-19 and its impact on the Charlotte region, the Carolinas and beyond.

Mecklenburg Is 1 Of 9 NC Counties Getting Ambulances For COVID Aid

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Mecklenburg County got five ambulances with crew members for at least 10 days through the Federal Emergency Management Agency to help with an increase in calls.

Mecklenburg County has an additional five ambulances and 10 crew members on hand to help with a rising number of calls due to the coronavirus pandemic. It's one of nine North Carolina counties benefiting from ambulances and crews provided by the Federal Emergency Management Agency for at least 10 days.

Medic, which runs EMS services for Mecklenburg, went from transporting 294 patients a day in January to 343 patients in August. Jon Studnek, a deputy chief with Medic, said the agency is short 28 employees and, since July, staff members have been required to work overtime.

"Our staff is tired," Studnek said. "We’ve been producing an adequate number of ambulances a day to meet our need, but the fatigue is becoming apparent and we are hoping the strike team will provide some relief."

Studnek says the increase in calls has not slowed down response times.

FEMA is sending another 20 ambulances and crews to eight other counties: Brunswick, Franklin, Graham, Guilford, Macon, New Hanover, Pender and Robeson.

The agency sent the “advanced life support” ambulances after the state requested 40 such ambulances and 10 “basic life support” models. MEDIC’s original request was for 15 ambulances and 30 crew members.

“While it’s not the full complement we requested, we know medical resources are extremely limited across the nation right now, and we are grateful for this assistance from our federal partners,” state Emergency Management Director Will Ray said in a news release.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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