First Responders Ask Public Not To Call 911 For Coronavirus Test

LAWRENCE, Mass. (WBZ NewsRadio) — The state's first responders are asking that you don't call 911 unless it's a real emergency—and that coronavirus fears do not constitute such an emergency.

Some people have actually called 911 and asked to be taken to the hospital for a COVID-19 test. Paul Brennan, Director of Emergency Medical Services at Lawrence General Hospital, told WBZ NewsRadio's Karyn Regal that's not a proper use of 911.

"If you call 911 for a ride to get a COVID test, you're using a very valuable resource, and you will not get that test at the hospital unless you meet criteria," he said.

Brennan said he gets that people are nervous, but first responders have to stay healthy, too.

"Just like people in their homes, our staff can get sick," Brennan said. "So, we're trying to protect our staff, we're trying to protect our coworkers and our families when we go home. It's really important you only use 911 as necessary."

It's also a potential waste of scarce personal protective equipment, or PPE.

"The 911 providers that come, the EMTs, the paramedics, the first responders, they're all using personal protective equipment," Brennan said. "It's a tremendous resource. We have personal protective equipment, but it's not at the level that we want, and we're using it at an incredibly fast rate."

So if you think you need a test for COVID-19, the correct number to call is your doctor's number, not 911.

WBZ NewsRadio's Karyn Regal (@Karynregal) reports

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(Photo: Getty Images)

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