NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- Not only are hospitals overwhelmed with patients, but on Thursday, the FDNY handled more than 6,000 911 calls - the busiest day ever for FDNY paramedics in terms of individual medical incidents.
The number is nearly double the normal amount of 911 calls and far in excess of the busiest days for medical incidents, which are New Year's Eve and July 4th during a heat wave.
The record-high call volume is largely being driven by sick calls from people who are scared or concerned they have coronavirus.
The FDNY is imploring people not to call 911 if they feel sick. Instead, they should call a doctor and only call for an ambulance in a true emergency.
Currently, there are 2,000 NYC firefighters and paramedics out sick, 17% of the FDNY. 170 members have tested positive for COVID-19, but anybody who is asymptomatic has been told they are needed at work.
Meanwhile, more than 550 NYPD members have tested positive and more than 4,000 have called out sick.
"Most of them with the same symptoms to some degree," NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea said. "Not all of them have been tested - it depends on the severity of the illness. But we have a number that have been tested. What would have been 300 a couple days ago became 400 became 500 as we sit here now tested positive. That number is going to grow and the reality we know definitely the number of that is sick is much higher."
Shea said the NYPD is also feeling the emotional impact of coronavirus.
"They are working in the most difficult of times against an enemy we haven't seen before. It's really a silent enemy. They are in the middle of a fight. Today we are grieving and fighting at the same time. We will look back at this day one time and be awfully damn proud of what they are doing," he said.
The first NYPD member to die of coronavirus was custodial assistant Dennis Dickson, served the department for 14 years and was assigned to police headquarters.
Dickson died Thursday at Kings County Hospital in Brooklyn.
The NYPD announced Friday the death of another member stemming from, the coronavirus pandemic. Giacomina Barr-Brown, who was a Civilian Member of the Service died Thursday night in her home. Barr-Brown was a seven-year veteran of the NYPD and was assigned to the 49 Precinct Roll Call Office, where she helped to ensure patrol and administrative assignments were adequately covered on a daily basis.
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