Indianapolis EMS officials not sure what’s behind record-breaking number of calls



INDIANAPOLIS — Indianapolis EMS is seeing a record-breaking number of calls but officials don’t know why.

“It is an absolute all hands-on deck (situation),” said Brian Van Bokkelen, public affairs manager of Indianapolis EMS. “They are really working hard seeing increases in everything.”

IEMS officials can’t say what’s behind the surge.

“We have done all the numbers, all the data,” Van Bokkelen said. “We cannot pinpoint any one thing we can say that’s why we’re so busy. It is everything across the board.”

While COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations have climbed steadily in Indiana over the past few weeks, Van Bokkelen says COVID-potential runs have not gone up.

“At the peak of everything, we’re saying April or May of last year, we did 30 to 49 COVID-19 potential runs a day,” Van Bokkelen said. “Yesterday we did five and on the first of August we did one. So we’re in single digits.”

Indianapolis EMS is averaging 350 calls per day.

“They’re overworked, they’re exhausted, but they keep showing up every day,” Van Bokkelen said.

The Indiana State Department of Health reported 1,017 COVID-related hospitalizations Friday. Exactly one month ago, the number of hospitalizations was 413.

We reached out to the biggest health systems in central Indiana to see if they’re experiencing a spike in COVID-19 related hospitalizations.

Only IU Health responded, saying while they were seeing an increase in COVID patients, it only made up 2% of the inpatient bed census, compared to 17% in December during COVID resurgence.

“Right now, we are busy,” Van Bokkelen said. “Our men and women who are paramedics and EMTs are really running hard taking care of all the medical needs.”

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