JACKSONVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – The Onslow County Government is feeling the effects of this most recent COVID-19 surge along with a lot of other counties in the East. 

“It’s often our employees who are in direct contact with the public that as part of their job, they must put on that mask and go ahead and do their job face to face with citizens,” said Onslow County Manager, Sharon Griffin. 

Onslow County Manager, Sharon Griffin, shares that overall, the county has about 6% of its staff out because of COVID-19.  

“It doesn’t sound like that many, but it really is in some departments, we tend to have a very lean staff. So, when we have multiple folks out in certain departments, it does create a real problem in delivering the services that we need to deliver to citizens,” said Griffin. 

Onslow County EMS is feeling that especially, they recently got extra help from the government with two fully staffed FEMA ambulances. But that extra help is going away soon, and they say they are going to see if they can continue to get those resources for another period.  

They say 22 of their providers have tested positive for COVID-19 in the last 10 days.  

“We are having a high increase in call volume, coupled that with the general staffing shortage of paramedics, and now on top of this, providers that are out with COVID is definitely placing more of a burden on the EMS system,” said EMS Division Head of Onslow County EMS, Jason Jones. 

Jones says it’s been hard on the workers, saying they have had to do a triage system for the calls. Responding to high-priority calls first, like strokes or heart attacks for example. 

“That’s something we’ve never really had to do before. It’s something that we’re having to do now more so than ever, as well as other agencies in the area, just because we don’t have enough resources to respond to calls that we would have six or nine months ago,” said Jones.  

Griffin adds it’s not just EMS that’s feeling this recent surge. She says the Sheriff’s Office and Social Services are also experiencing some shortages.  

“We try to take good care of them, we have plexiglass up, we do everything we can to try to protect their health. And we’ve encouraged vaccination, but we do have a significant number of staff that are out,” said Griffin.