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Ambulance calls, emergency room visits spike with icy conditions on Long Island

A patient is pushed into an emergency room by emergency medical technicians. (File Photo)
A patient is pushed into an emergency room by emergency medical technicians. (File Photo)
Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Police and emergency workers on Long Island reported a spike in car crashes, ambulance calls and emergency room visits as icy conditions swooped over Friday morning, Nassau and Suffolk officials said Jan. 10.

In Suffolk County, police said road conditions were causing “a higher number of crashes.” A police spokeswoman said officers have been advised of emergency conditions and some roadways were subject to closure. There was no official word on whether any roads were closed as a result of the icy conditions.

“Four-wheel drive doesn’t get you through the ice,” said John Jordan, the county’s deputy fire rescue and emergency services commissioner. “If they have the option, we don’t want people to be traveling on the roads.”

Jordan said county officials were notified at one point that every ambulance in Suffolk County was dispatched to calls, leading to “some delays” in emergency response. He said ambulance and rescue crews were prioritizing emergency calls and working to get responders dispatched to the next call as soon as possible.

In Nassau, officials said icy conditions were causing “minor accidents and spin outs.” A police spokesman said they had no reports of issues with ambulance responses.

Officials at multiple Long Island hospitals reported a spike in emergency room visits with many patients being treated after car crashes and falls.

At Southside Hospital in Bay Shore, more than 95 patients, including 12 trauma cases, were being treated in the emergency room within a three-hour period, according to Terry Lynam, a spokesman for the North Shore-LIJ Health System. Many of those patients were treated after “slip and falls” and car accidents.

At Stony Brook University Hospital, spokeswoman Melissa Weir said additional staff was being called into the emergency room “because of the high volume of cases.

A spokeswoman for Catholic Health Services of Long Island, which operates six hospitals in Nassau and Suffolk, said they were all experiencing “an abrupt and significant increase” in weather-related injuries.

Thirty patients were being treated over a two-hour period at Nassau University Medical Center in East Meadow, a spokeswoman there said.

Authorities said there were no serious injuries reported in Friday’s storm-caused crashes.