A Florida county is urging residents to call 911 sparingly as hospitals experience an influx of COVID-19 patients.
Brevard County Fire Chief Mark Schollmeyer said residents should consider other options such as contacting a primary care physician before calling ambulance services, CBS reported.
“Leave emergency room and ambulance trips for those with life-threatening or serious emergencies,” Schollmeyer told the outlet.
Schollmeyer said emergency rooms have been inundated amid the recent surges of coronavirus infections.
“There is a capacity issue at our local hospitals dealing with this new surge in COVID-19,” Schollmeyer told the outlet. “Crowding in the ERs has caused us to hold the wall and wait for our patients to offload before we run the next call.”
Schollmeyer’s pleas come as only 19.2 percent of the county’s hospital beds are available.
Hospitalizations are on the rise, with the county recording a 24.6 percent jump in admissions for COVID-19 patients over the past week, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The county also recorded more than new 3,800 new infections from July 30 to Aug. 5, according to the Florida Department of Health.
Currently, only around 51 percent of residents in the county are fully vaccinated, health officials said.