COVID-19 patients in critical need here in the Quad Cities are being transported as far as Chicago, Rockford, Springfield and Chicago.
Staff with the emergency helicopter service out in Colona say, with the recent surge in cases, it’s been busy.
The facility recently purchased three new $7.1 million helicopters, which staff say was perfect timing.
“Right now, we’re averaging about 100 flights a month,” says Kevin Takacs, CEO of MedForce. “We’re going to destinations now such as Des Moines, Chicago, Rockford, Springfield, Illinois; just further away. It’s just unusual for us to go to those great distances.”
Takacs says disinfecting before each flight is extensive.
“We knew going into it that we are transferring potentially high-risk patients. So, we have to take extreme precautions on every flight, and then disinfecting the aircraft. It’s a very, very stressful time for us.”
Takacs is urging, like many other health experts, personal responsibility.
“I don’t want to see you in this situation. This is a very critical measure. When we see patients that are at this level, it’s usually not great outcomes. Wear your mask, limit your time out, socially distance and be socially responsible,” says Takacs.
MedForce has seen an increase in its mileage from 40 to 60 miles away to about 150 miles now.