The largest number of the transports took place in the fourth quarter with 8,982 cases, which deems to be related to the third wave of the pandemic causing the elevation of the social distancing measures to the second level last November.
Out of the suspected cases, 5,752 people (21.3%) were confirmed to carry the coronavirus. The most confirmed cases were found in December with 2,410 patients. Out of the total cases transported, 13,427 (49.8%) were in their 60s or older, and 2,209 out of them turned out to be confirmed cases.
To prevent further spread of the deadly virus, the Seoul Metropolitan Fire & Disaster Headquarters has been taking various measures such as designating dedicated paramedics, deploying two additional negative pressure ambulances, beefing up paramedic staff, and creating and distributing manuals on how to deal with COVID-19 emergencies.
At the moment, 24 teams of paramedics are deployed exclusively for transporting confirmed (suspected) cases. A negative pressure ambulance is a vehicle preventing viruses from leaking out, and one such vehicle is in operation for each of four zones in the city. The manuals on how to deal with disasters caused by a contagious disease described the types of suspected cases of COVID-19 in detail for the first time in Korea and distributed to relevant organizations, including fire stations and public health centers and out of the country.
The Seoul Metropolitan Fire & Disaster Headquarters plans to strengthen its system to deal with contagious diseases such as COVID-19 by renovating six contagion control rooms where equipment and devices are disinfected and adding two more.
An official from the Headquarters said, “our vehicles and equipment are properly disinfected and operated under the guidelines. To make sure there is no virus in our vehicle, we test a virus sample,” adding, “we are doing our utmost to ensure passengers wouldn’t have to worry about any possible infection from the vehicle.”
Choi Tae-young, Head of Seoul Metropolitan Fire & Disaster Headquarters, said “As the pandemic lingers, we will make every effort to stay vigilant and prevent further spread of the virus with our agile and systematic response.”