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WPB Fire Chief talks about the Coronavirus and Opioid crises in Palm Beach County

West Palm Beach Fire Chief Diana Matty recently told 850WFTL about the COVID-19 crisis and how her paramedics are handling it.

The health department is reporting Palm Beach County has climbed past 9,000 coronavirus cases with the second highest death toll in the state at 71 behind Miami-Dade. The statewide total stands at nearly three thousand deaths from COVID-19.

In March, Chief Matty was concerned about a shortage of PPE’s but now her department has plenty of masks. In fact, she says none of her paramedics or fire fighters have contracted or tested positive for COVID-19 despite responding to numerous calls. Chief Matty says everyone wears a mask even when responding to a traffic accident and adheres to proper protocol.

In addition to talking about whether anyone in her department has gotten sick and if they have enough PPE’s, she says there has been an increase in 911 calls asking for transport due to complications from the illness. She says people with comorbidities go downhill fast and need help quickly adding that in addition to calling an ambulance, you can present to the nearest emergency room if you are having breathing problems.

Chief Matty also addressed another local health risk, the opioid crisis in Palm Beach County. She says the numbers of overdoses and halfway houses are intertwined in Palm Beach County and both have greatly diminished since 2017. She covered everything from “available resources,” “excited delirium” in reference to the George Floyd case, and how to prevent “children” from overdosing on grandma’s cancer pain medications in the home.

Chief Matty explains in the case of excited delirium, some people high on cocaine, heroine or meth can get into a frenzy, jump on cars, and even climb trees. She says it takes several people to subdue them and eventually tranquilize them in order to transport them safely to the hospital. In many cases Chief Matty describes people taking a cocktail of street drugs which lead to out-of-control bizarre behavior.

Listen to the full interview with West Palm Beach Fire Chief Diana Matty’s full interview here.
SFS Chief Matty Opioid Covid Kids