MILWAUKEE -- Paratech Ambulance Service crews, like many other first responders, are experiencing the full effect of the coronavirus, and they want to make sure patients and staff stay healthy.
"The calls related to COVID-19 have increased, and we have continued to see a steady increase," said Chris Walters of Paratech.
It's a busy time for the paramedic service as the coronavirus continues to spread across the Milwaukee area.
"We're just trying to reassure, and keep everyone calm and educated as we move forward," Walters said.
Doing that comes with many challenges, with Paratech officials focused on ensuring both crews and patients stay safe. Paratech invested in 10 ozone generators to clean ambulances after transferring coronavirus patients. The small generators are placed into an ambulance, the doors are closed and bacteria is killed.
"This is something that's meant to help decontaminate the fleet and keep the ambulances clean," said Casey McCall of Paratech. "This generates ozone gas, which lets everybody walk in, turn it on and step away."
Crews are wearing masks, face shields and eye protection, but getting the proper PPE has proven to be difficult.
"Prior to all of this, we were paying 75 cents for an N95 mask," Walters said. "The asking price for those available N95s is $5.50."
With surging prices and short supply, Paratech crews are still doing their job, and asking others to do their part.
"Stay home for us, and stay home for yourselves," said McCall. "Otherwise, this shutdown is going to continue to move on even farther."
As of Tuesday, March 31, Paratech had enough supplies, but they don't know for how long. They are accepting donations and are willing to pay for any proper PPE that might be available.