If you are sick, contact you primary physician.

That is the message first responders are trying to send to the public as 911 calls are flooding dispatch centers and emergency waiting rooms overflow with people who think they may have the coronavirus.

“The coronavirus symptoms are not an emergency,” Fostoria Fire Chief Brian Herbert explained. “It’s not something you call 911 for.”

Fostoria Fire Department has been providing emergency medical technicians, paramedics and ambulance service to the city for ## years.

“Unless your symptoms are to the extreme, which someone’s going to know. No body jumps right into the extreme symptoms,” he said. “So what they need to do is to contact their health care provider.”
Herbert said it is there that appropriate actions can be taken to treat the problem.

“So what they need to do is contact their health care provider, give them the heads up that they think they have the symptoms, so their health care provider can take the appropriate actions and be ready when they do get there.”

Health care providers immediately isolate those who suspect they have the virus by placing them in a room away from the general waiting room population, Herbert said.

“The biggest thing is we don’t want to tax the 911 system and we don’t want to tax the emergency room to the point where they’re being flooded with individuals who think they may have the virus,” he said. “We don’t want to take care away from individuals who have a real emergency.”

A press release from Hancock County Sheriff Michael Heldman Friday morning urges people who are experiencing any flu-like symptoms or have any medical questions, to contact their general physician first.

“This will allow 911 operators to concentrate on emergency calls,” the release states.

“If you feel there is a need to use your local EMS for treatment and transport, please give the 911 operator detailed information about the symptoms that are presented. If the patient has recently traveled, within or outside of the United States, this information is vital.

“Please understand and be patient with all 911 operators as they will be asking more questions than usual to ensure first responder safety. We all have to be honest with any information that could result in harm to others.”

The release states a patient needs to inform the EMS/fire personnel when they arrive of all the information provided to the 911 operator.

“We understand that this may be more time consuming, but we are attempting to keep all of our first responders safe to return home.”