BATON ROUGE, LA (BR-PROUD) – The New Orleans EMS team is going into covid-19 filled homes to serve the community.
“This is definitely unprecedented times.”
Health care workers across the country continue to risk their lives every single day as the nations battles COVID-19.
“I think we made the decision years ago when we went into this field. No one could have anticipated this, but what gets me up is this is the mission.”
A mission Dr. Emily Nichols takes very seriously. Nichols is the New Orleans EMS Director.
New Orleans is the epicenter of the virus in Louisiana. As of April, 16 Orleans Parish has 5, 847 COVID-19 cases, that’s according to the Louisiana Department of Health.
“Even in the midst of COVID, people have other medical needs, and our job is to do this so that others may live. The mission has not changed. Despite of COVID, the mission remains the same,” Nichols said.
Working in New Orleans she’s seen her fair share of disasters, but she’s never experienced something like this.
“What’s even more unique is that this is not a disaster that we can see. Our region is certainly used to seeing things like hurricanes, and we anticipate it’s arrival and we can predict about how long it will be with us. But COVID is very different, and that adds to the anxiety of our community, but also our first responders,” Nichols said.
Nichols and her team have changed the way they respond to emergencies, limiting the number of people working calls and on the ambulances.
“They are going into homes that are full of COVID. So we’ve really had to evaluate how we provide care without putting our crew at risk.”
She’s also had to change her personal life. Her daughter is now staying with family members while she and her husband work the front lines of the virus.
“I stay home when I’m not at work for my mother. I want her to be healthy and safe. During my shifts I’m doing everything to protect myself. My husband is an emergency physician and he’s doing the same.”
But despite the high risk, she still wakes up eager to serve the community and encourages you to do the same.
“You can still do random acts of kindness from a distance. It’s so key. These are times that are very burden sum. I think it will still affect us even after the disaster deceleration has moved on.”
Nichols says the streets of New Orleans will be filled with people, music and good times once again.