For many paramedics around Orange and the Western region, never have they experienced a tougher time than what they are going through now.
According to NSW Ambulance zone manager for the Central West, Bradley Porter, it's starting to take a toll.
"We have been dealing with COVID as an organisation for 18 months and our Sydney metropolitan colleagues have certainly felt the brunt of that for a long period of time," he said.
"Until about two months ago, the Western region was largely free of COVID but unfortunately we have seen it infiltrate into the regional areas. That has ramped up our level of precaution that we need to take for all patients."
That precaution means treating every single job they go to as if the person has COVID. So they will put on their respirator masks, wrap themselves in a different plastic gown each time they go out, all to keep the community safe.
"Paramedic work is hard work at the best of times and we're working in very different environments to hospital systems," Mr Porter said.
"We're working in people's homes and out in the elements so having that added level of precaution in place does take a toll on people and we need to make sure they stay vigilant because it does protect them."
That extra workload on top of what is already a mentally and physically demanding job is why Mr Porter is promoting R U OK Day which falls today, September 9.
"Sometimes it's just a chat they need to offload something, but other times and more and more they're not ok," he added.
"It's about recognising that as early as possible, not just when you're in crisis."
Mr Porter is also asking on the community to help ease that burden.
"We do need to ask the public to think about why they're calling an ambulance," he added.
"We're here to provide emergency healthcare for people, but it does need to be an emergency or they need to be worried about their health and not call for trivial things.
"We do have a very stringent triage system and we're quite comfortable that those hoax calls or those calls that aren't for medical related emergencies get filtered out and don't get an ambulance response, but it does tie up our call takers and our dispatchers."
Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can continue to access our trusted content: