Paramedics pushed to the brink in relentless COVID-19 surge

Paramedics in Orange County, California, received six calls for potential COVID-19 cases in 30 minutes. It’s a familiar scene playing out across the country.
1:36 | 12/24/20

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Transcript for Paramedics pushed to the brink in relentless COVID-19 surge
Next tonight, we're on the front lines with paramedics at the epicenter of this pandemic right now, in Orange county, California. Six potential covid cases in just 30 minutes, risking their own lives to answer each and every call. ABC's Kaylee Hartung is there. Reporter: Tonight, this is the battle on the front lines. Paramedics in Orange county responding to a relentless surge. This man has apparent covid symptoms and is being taken to the hospital for testing. His family's on high alert, another relative in critical condition. The last couple weeks have been some of the things we've never seen before. Call volume, just the number of acutely ill patients. Reporter: In just a half hour during our ride-along, six potential covid 911 calls coming in. It's a scene playing out across the country. More than 117,000 Americans are now in the hospital, a new record. Captain Lee Cabrera and his crew waiting up to an hour with patients because there's no room. Having a critically ill person in your care in the back of an ambulance and being unable to get into the hospital is definitely challenging and concerning. Reporter: Here in Orange county, 5% of firefighters are sidelined. The department pushed to the brink. Right now, it's like all rules are the window. We just have to keep guys and gals on our rigs and responding to, you know, to calls and helping out the citizens. Reporter: Because those calls are going to keep coming. They're N stopping. Reporter: And linsey, the latest numbers here in California reflect the stress that these firefighters are under. The state surpassing 2 million cases and half those infections came in just the last six weeks. Kaylee, thank you so much.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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