INDIANAPOLIS (WTHR) - Indianapolis EMS workers Adrian Foster and Breanna Goodman are on the front lines of COVID-19, helping to save lives while protecting their own.
"You think about it every day. Every time you go on a flu-like symptoms call it's in the back of your brain. That's why we wear our PPE (personal protective equipment). That's why we wash our hands a million times a day is to try to prevent that spread," said Goodman, who has been with IEMS for two years.
They answer countless calls a day.
"Two days ago, I had a potential coronavirus patient and her 8-year old daughter was there and she was crying, so not only are we trying to take care of the patient but we're trying to console her daughter and it makes it a little more difficult especially with a young child because they can't see our smiling faces," said Foster, whose worked as a first responder for a decade.
Since March 1, IEMS crews have treated and transported more than 1,400 patients who said they had flu-like symptoms.
Crews have been in contact and transported more than 700 patients who later tested positive for COVID-19.
Eight providers have also tested positive for coronavirus. Seven have since returned to work.
"The COVID-19 pandemic has shown how effective and important these men and women are to Indianapolis public safety, and how well equipped we have been to face the challenges that came with it," said Dr. Dan O'Donnell, chief of IEMS.
Foster and Goodman say they have found ways to deal with the challenges that come when they're off the clock.
"My family will ask me 'are you doing OK, do you want to go do anything' as far as driving around to get my mind off of (things) if I had a stressful day," said Goodman.
"We do a lot like most people do, spend time at home, work on the house, gardening, try and find things to occupy our time to destress. It's a challenge, but we're working through it just like everyone else, we're doing as best we can," said Foster.
Their efforts aren't going unnoticed. Signs reading Heroes Work Here are posted just about everywhere you look.
"Just the other day, down off of Washington, there were people with signs they were holding up towards the street to say thank you to first responders and health care workers and it's been nice to get that appreciation from the community during this hard time," said Goodman.
This week celebrates National Emergency Medical Services EMS Week to honor their service and sacrifice.
According to the American College of Emergency Physicians, since March 9, there have been 40 EMS personnel who have died from COVID-19 related complications, including firefighter John Schoffstall of Terre Haute who died April 12.