Special delivery: Agencies work together to transport healthcare workers, patients
Published 11:51 am Thursday, February 18, 2021
Icy roads are making it impossible for some essential workers to get to — or home from — work.
But thanks to many in the community, the men and women who are caring for those in the hospital, at nursing homes or providing lifesaving services have been able to get to their jobs. Firefighters, police officers and even local politicians and officials have helped transport others around town.
“The sheriff’s office, the police department, emergency management and fire services — all of us that have vehicles that can get out in it (the dangerous roadways) have been helping get folks to work,” Warren County Emergency Management Agency Director John Elfer said.
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Calls will come in, the person will give the address of where they are and then they will either be picked up at their home and taken to work or taken home after their shift is over.
“As called, we get a little schedule and then we will shuttle them back and forth. We won’t stop until it gets to the point where nobody can move,” Elfer said.
In some cases, this is already happening. Some roads have been impassable since the early hours of the storm on Sunday night.
“We kind of know where you can go and where you can’t go,” Elfer said.
Therefore, in situations where roads are impassable, Elfer said, the person will have to meet them at the end of the street. “Or we will have to walk to go get them.”
In addition to getting medical staff to their jobs, Elfer said they have also been taking patients home from the hospital in an effort to free up beds.
Steve Lloyd, who is a social worker at Fresenius Kidney Care Vicksburg, on Keystone Circle, said he has appreciated the help.
“The Vicksburg Fire Department, the city police and the sheriff’s department have all been helping to get folks up here — bringing in patients and workers — and this has been a great help,” Lloyd said.
Vicksburg Fire Chief Craig Danczyk said patients needing to get to a dialysis appointment have been among the priority for first responders.
“Wednesday, we helped a lot of dialysis patients who were not able to drive, or had someone who could navigate the snow and ice,” Danczyk said. “A dialysis appointment is not something you can put off. You can put off a dentist appointment for a week, but dialysis has to happen.”
Merit Health River Region marketing director Leigh White said they are grateful for the services they have been offered during this “unprecedented winter storm.”
“We acknowledge and appreciate all of our local first responders who consistently demonstrate their dedication to our community through their tireless efforts. We are grateful to the Warren County Sheriff’s Department, Vicksburg Police and Fire Departments, Mayor George Flaggs and John Elfer, Director of the Warren County Emergency Management Agency, and his staff who have helped transport essential healthcare workers,” White said.
“We are also grateful for the Southern Sisters’ Cafe’ and Catering, Fit Chef, Goldies Express BBQ and Catering, and the Gumbo Pot who have provided food for our staff,” White added.
Elfer acknowledged all those who have been working to provide transportation.
“This has been a group effort and I’ll say this about all the response agents — I haven’t seen this much cooperation in a long time,” Elfer said. “Everybody is working together and it has been pleasurable.”