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Island Falls in need of new EMT workers

ISLAND FALLS, Maine — While the COVID-19 pandemic continues to rise nationwide, Emergency Medical Technicians have been recognized as some of the most important workers, being able to provide potentially lifesaving medical care and hospital transportation. 

 

And the town of Island Falls is in desperate need of some more. 

“We’re a little shorthanded,” said Jutta Beyer, the town manager for Island Falls. “I hope we can find somebody.” 

The shortage in EMT workers comes as a result from one worker retiring after having worked as one for 35 years, and another going back to school, Beyer said. With their departures, the town now only has one EMT worker, along with the director. 

Though Island Falls is remotely tucked away in southern Aroostook County, it has not been immune to the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the Maine Center for Disease Control, which sorts the number of cases by zip code, the Island Falls area has seen between 1-5 cases of coronavirus since the beginning of the pandemic, with neighboring Sherman and Oakfield also having reported cases. Nearby Houlton has also seen a recent flare in cases, including four EMT workers. 

While rural EMT workers can be hard to come by, Island Falls’ search may be bolstered by an approved proposal by the Maine Legislature’s Health Coverage, Insurance and Financial Services Committee made back in February, designed to help rural hospitals find EMT workers. 

Beyer said she hopes people from more populated city areas will want to come to a more rural area to provide this essential service. 

“[There’s people] from the bigger cities, that they want to move up here,” she said. “So I’m still hopeful.”

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