‘It’s no joke’: Firefighter shares experience working in California hospital amid COVID-19 surge

Monday marked day six for three Fairfield, California, firefighters who were sent to a Los Angeles County hospital to help with the COVID-19 surge.Firefighters said they hit the ground running as people of all ages come in nonstop as COVID-19 patients. Since last Wednesday, the firefighter-paramedics have been working long hours, acting as nurses, administering IVs, getting the sickest patients to a room and hooking some patients up to ventilators.Firefighter Tony Tynes said it’s been an overwhelming experience. He said some days, they’ve seen nothing but COVID-19 patients coming in for treatment. “The first two days, we saw nothing but COVID patients,” he said. “There wasn’t one patient that came in with a wrist injury or a broken foot or anything like that. One-hundred percent of those patients we saw in the first two days were all COVID, and we were busy that whole shift.””It is truly a war zone because you’re always on the go,” Tynes added. “We’re doing anywhere from eight to 12-hour shifts.” The hospital in Panorama City, where Tynes is working, is so overwhelmed that staff have set up tents in the parking lot and patients are being treated outside. On Saturday, six deaths were reported at the hospital and bodies were being put in freezer trailers. “It’s no joke, it is literally no joke. It makes much more sense,” Tynes said of seeing the situation in person.“What they’re expecting Monday, Tuesday coming forward, is that they’re probably going to have intense surges from the people who hung out on New Year’s Eve, the big parties,” he said.The firefighters from Fairfield will be on assignment at the Los Angeles County Hospital for another 10 days. With a total of 60 firefighters on staff, the Fairfield Fire Department said they are able to send as many as 12 firefighters to help at hospitals across the state.

Monday marked day six for three Fairfield, California, firefighters who were sent to a Los Angeles County hospital to help with the COVID-19 surge.

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Firefighters said they hit the ground running as people of all ages come in nonstop as COVID-19 patients.

Since last Wednesday, the firefighter-paramedics have been working long hours, acting as nurses, administering IVs, getting the sickest patients to a room and hooking some patients up to ventilators.

Firefighter Tony Tynes said it’s been an overwhelming experience. He said some days, they’ve seen nothing but COVID-19 patients coming in for treatment.

“The first two days, we saw nothing but COVID patients,” he said. “There wasn’t one patient that came in with a wrist injury or a broken foot or anything like that. One-hundred percent of those patients we saw in the first two days were all COVID, and we were busy that whole shift.”

“It is truly a war zone because you’re always on the go,” Tynes added. “We’re doing anywhere from eight to 12-hour shifts.”

Fairfield firefighters in SoCal

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Across the state, firefighters and paramedics are being called on to help with staffing at hospitals as the fight against the coronavirus pandemic continues.

The hospital in Panorama City, where Tynes is working, is so overwhelmed that staff have set up tents in the parking lot and patients are being treated outside.

On Saturday, six deaths were reported at the hospital and bodies were being put in freezer trailers.

“It’s no joke, it is literally no joke. It makes much more sense,” Tynes said of seeing the situation in person.

“What they’re expecting Monday, Tuesday coming forward, is that they’re probably going to have intense surges from the people who hung out on New Year’s Eve, the big parties,” he said.

The firefighters from Fairfield will be on assignment at the Los Angeles County Hospital for another 10 days. With a total of 60 firefighters on staff, the Fairfield Fire Department said they are able to send as many as 12 firefighters to help at hospitals across the state.