AMBULANCE Victoria is urging Victorians not to be afraid to call Triple Zero (000) in an emergency, after the ambulance service experienced a significant drop in demand during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ambulance Victoria Gippsland regional director Graeme Parker applauded the community for doing the right thing by seeking help from their GP or pharmacist if they’re unwell and don’t need an ambulance or hospital care.

“However, we are concerned, particularly for the elderly and those with pre-existing heart or respiratory conditions who may need us but aren’t calling Triple Zero,” Mr Parker said.

“We’ve seen around a 30 per cent decrease in call outs in recent weeks and are concerned that members of the community may be frighted to call an ambulance for fear of COVID-19, or just don’t want to be a burden on us during a pandemic.”

Mr Parker said Ambulance Victoria has been preparing for COVID-19 since mid-January and have enough ambulances and paramedics to meet demand.

“Remember that our paramedics have the right equipment to keep themselves and their patients safe from all types of infection, including COVID-19, as do our hospitals. Our ambulances and emergency departments are safe places to be,” Mr Parker said.

Mr Parker encouraged people to check in on elderly relatives, neighbours or friends via the phone and make sure they know that Ambulance Victoria is here for them.

“If people have health concerns, such as an onset of shortness of breath, chest pains, facial drooping or weakness, for example, they must dial Triple Zero,” Mr Parker said.

“Every second counts when it comes to respiratory or cardiac conditions, or stroke. If a patient doesn’t need a lights and sirens ambulance, we will find the right care for that patient at that time.

“The bottom line is, people with serious conditions need to call Triple Zero (000). Ambulance Victoria has always and will always be there for people in their time of need. There’s a time to be stoic, and it’s not during a health emergency. That’s a time to call Triple Zero.”

Mr Parker praised others in the community for their role in flattening the curve, which has provided the health system with the time and capacity to effectively manage COVID-19 in Victoria.

“It’s promising to see the number of COVID-19 cases in Victoria decrease, but we still need everyone who can stay home to stay home.

“If you have to go out, be vigilant about social distancing. Wash your hands thoroughly and often, and don’t touch your face because the primary path of infection is through your mouth, nose and eyes. For the same reason, and for the safety of others, sneeze or cough into your elbow.”

 

Top 5 tips to stay safe

 

  1. Wash your hands.
  2. Cough/sneeze into your elbow.
  3. Don’t touch your face.
  4. Stay 1.5 meters away from others.
  5. Stay home (if you feel sick or can work from home).