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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Missouri is tripling the number of mutual aid ambulances in order to provide long-haul patient transfers and help reduce COVID caseloads at hospitals across the state.

Gov. Mike Parson said 30 ambulances and more than 60 trained personnel will start arriving throughout five state regions Friday. They are expected to start transporting patients by Saturday, and they will operate until Sept. 5.

The Kansas City area is one of the five regions that will get assistance from these ambulance strike teams, along with northeast, southwest, south-central and northwest Missouri.

“The ambulance strike teams we positioned in Springfield have been extremely effective in helping save lives and ease the pressure on local hospitals,” Parson said.

These new ambulance strike teams are in response to a request made to the Federal Emergency Management Agency. The 30 teams include 20 advanced life-support ambulances, five basic life-support ambulances, and five specialty care ambulances.

Ambulance teams from Arkansas were in southwest Missouri. They are heading home now. The 10 Arkansas ambulances logged more than 53,000 miles on 223 patient transports. Now a federally provided team will take over in southwest Missouri.

“Delta is the most aggressive and transmissible variant of COVID-19, and it is more important than ever to take advantage of the highly effective vaccines,” Parson said.

“Vaccination is the best way to prevent serious illness from COVID-19. Vaccinations are free and available across the state, often with no appointment necessary, and vaccinated Missourians will have their shot at $10,000 cash or $10,000 toward an education saving account.”