ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) - Throughout the pandemic, Dougherty County Emergency Medical Services (EMS) has not slowed down.
Dougherty County EMS Director Sam Allen said this pandemic is nothing like he’s ever seen before. He told WALB News 10 what it’s been like for them over the past year.
Allen said even though it’s been a tragic year, his team is closer.
“The staff has joined together. They’re much tighter, they’re looking out for each other and it has been a bonding event,” said Allen.
He said the biggest challenges during the height of the pandemic were adapting to constantly changing CDC guidelines and keeping PPE.
“It has been tragic, it has just been unbelievable. One day, you’re wearing a uniform like this and the next day, you’re wearing a Tyvek suit with N-95 masks and eye protection and gloves. I mean you go from one extreme to the other,” said Allen.
Allen said one of the worst days for his staff was when one of them got COVID-19.
“Our employees are our No. 1 priority and they’re the most valuable asset. So, this has been our objective goal through the pandemic is to take care of our staff and provide the best medical care to the citizens of Dougherty County,” said Allen.
Allen reflected on the community’s support, thanking them for donating PPE. He said the community has been very understanding.
“We were not allowing people to ride in the ambulance to the hospital. People understood that so it was not argumentative. People truly understood there is a serious pandemic going on and they cooperated with our staff,” said Allen.
Now, he said there’s a light at the end of the tunnel.
“The day that we heard the vaccine was available, there were 10 of us that lined up on the second day to get the vaccine. I want to encourage everybody to please, when you’re eligible, to get the vaccine. We don’t want to lose another person to this virus. It’s terrible, it’s still dangerous and it’s still deadly,” said Allen.
Allen said more than 40 percent of EMS staff has taken the vaccine and is doing fine.