SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – Federal help is on the way for Shreveport Fire Department emergency medical services crews as calls for service surge along with the delta variant of COVID-19.

The Shreveport Fire Department will receive four ambulances and crews Thursday to help with an increase in calls for service, primarily related to COVID-19 cases, according to a statement released by the city late Wednesday afternoon.

The fire department requested federal assistance through Caddo Parish Homeland Security for additional ambulances and crews.

“Agencies and hospitals in our area are becoming overwhelmed by the significant influx of COVID patients,” Mayor Adrian Perkins said the statement. “It is vital for us to provide essential resources to our first responders who provide critical care for those patients.”

The city says SFD is averaging around 140 calls for service a day and running 10 ambulances. When no SFD ambulances are available, the department relies on resources from neighboring agencies.

“We’re thankful to the federal government for the assistance that has been provided,” Chief Scott Wolverton said in the statement. “This will have an immediate impact on our medics who are dealing with the increased call volume on a daily basis.”

The additional ambulances and crews will operate on 12-hour shifts and will respond from Shreveport Fire Station #1 (263 N. Common St) and #16 (5105 Hollywood Ave).

In Northwest Lousiana, there are 344 COVID patients in area hospitals as of Tuesday with 50 on ventilators.

Of the 556 new COVID-19 cases reported Wednesday in Northwest Louisiana, 189 are in Caddo Parish, bringing the total cases here to 33,320. A total of 1,611 cases have been reported in the past week, along with thirteen deaths. A total of 797 people have died due to COVID, according to the Louisiana Department of Health.