Heat wave leading to a spike in emergency calls
BATON ROUGE - In every part of the city, you can find people outside in the heat doing what they can to stay cool.
With the heat index reaching about 110 degrees, everyone is struggling to cool off.
"It can get severe very quickly if people aren't careful," said Mike Chustz with Baton Rouge EMS. "The call volume is up, and we're running non-stop."
Chustz says they've gotten about 60 heat-related calls for help over the past month. Baton Rouge EMS is bracing for more of the same emergencies as the temperatures continue to rise.
"The big hit for us is when we get there. Many times we have to wait for a bed," Chustz said. "That's tying up the ambulance even longer. That's something we've fought on and off, but right now it's a pretty serious issue."
Baton Rouge General is also seeing a rise in heat-related calls. It's a tough situation for emergency rooms, as doctors say they're swamped with visits from COVID patients.
"We are getting more folks in who have problems with handling the heat," said Dr. Vincent Shaw with Baton Rouge General. "That's been the trend as the months have gotten warmer, but it's just more noticeable because of the predominance of COVID."
Doctors are urging people to take extra care of themselves as hospitals are already dealing with the current surge in COVID cases.