Ambulance Victoria declares code red

Ambulance Victoria issued a code red late on 10 January. Picture: ON FILE.

By Parker McKenzie

As isolation requirements send people into seven day quarantine, health workers and first responders are not immune to the restrictions leaving a dire situation for Ambulance Victoria.

Mount Evelyn residents who may require paramedics are being told to only contact triple zero if it is an emergency as omicron cases surge.

With hundreds of staff currently in isolation, Ambulance Victoria declared a code red response for the second time in a week as the lack of staff puts pressure on the healthcare system.

Ambulance Victoria activated a red escalation response in the metropolitan area – including Yarra Ranges, Knox City and Cardinia Council – and asked non-urgent emergencies to contact Nurses on Call.

From 11.20pm on 10 January some emergency calls for ambulances and paramedics were delayed until the code red escalation response ended at 3.35am 11 January.

“The global Covid-19 pandemic continues to have a significant and unprecedented impact on health systems including Ambulance Victoria and hospital emergency departments,” an Ambulance Victoria spokesperson said.

“Ambulance Victoria has a detailed Emergency Response Plan and escalation procedures to effectively manage a surge in workload and demand.”

Ambulance Victoria currently has more than 420 staff in isolation because of potential exposure or infection, which has created significant impact on resources available to respond to emergencies.

The organisation expects with increasing Covid case numbers in the community, ambulances and hospitals will be even busier over the coming months.

Ambulance Victoria has asked members of the community to assist them by:

• Only calling for an ambulance in an emergency.

• Calling your COVID Positive Pathway contact that you have been provided.

• Calling your GP.

• Utilising Nurse on Call (1300 60 60 24) which is available 24/7 free of charge to all Victorians who do not require emergency care.