MADURAI: The 21-day lockdown is proving to be an ordeal for the 108-ambulance staff as they are unable to report to duty owing to the suspension of public and private transportation services. According to sources in the 108-ambulance service, close to 150 staff work in two shifts in Madurai.
However, staff in one shift often find themselves unable to head home because the second-shift staff, many of whom come from the outskirts of the district, are unable to reach the office in time and relieve them. They urged the State to arrange them transportation facilities similar to those arranged for government staff.
Resources in hand
Of the 30 ambulances at its disposal, four had been dedicated to transporting referral patients symptomatic of COVID-19. "At least six to eight patients symptomatic of COVID-19 are referred from Primary Health Centres (PHCs) and private hospitals in the city to the Government Rajaji Hospital (GRH).
However, people who have mild cough or fever also call the ambulance fearing they might have contracted the virus," sources said. As part of precautionary measures, "the four ambulances used for referral cases are disinfected at the GRH using sprayer guns after dropping off patients. The ambulance staff who handle such patients are provided with PPEs," the sources added.