Seal of Dane County County of Dane
Dane County Emergency Management

EMS Response To Respiratory and Infectious Disease Emergencies During COVID-19


Updated 6/22/2020 at 11:30am

This website will be updated monthly with key findings and trends.

All EMS Calls in 2020

Dane County EMS agencies have answered 18,941 calls for help in 2020.

EMS agencies throughout Dane County continue to provide emergency care to those who need it most. The county as a whole continues to see slightly higher overall volumes in EMS calls from 2018 and 2019. This document serves to identify key changes or findings compared to previous data released.


Dane County respiratory/infectious disease calls map





46% of EMS cases to date occurred in the City of Madison. Volume has begun to shift slightly towards agencies outside of the City of Madison.

*Excludes cases with missing or invalid location data.


Breakdown of age ranges


Overall, EMS agencies in and around Dane County respond to more female patients than male.

*Excludes cases with missing or invalid location data.

Compared to 2019, the number of patients aged 30-39, 60-69, and 70-79 continue to see the highest increases in 2020. Overall, county EMS agencies are responding to fewer patients under the age of 30.

*Excludes cases with a missing or invalid patient age.

Age of Patients by Year

 How does 2020 data to date compare to previous years?                                                                                                                 Includes incident dates between January 1 and May 20 for 2018, 2019, and 2020.
EMS call volume from January through March increasing since 2018.


2019 saw call volumes 2.8% higher than 2018, and year-to-date 2020 EMS call volume has decreased by 2.9% from 2019.

2020 started with a higher call volume than years past. However, EMS call volume began to drop off around the second week of March, 2020. As shown below, recent weeks have seen an increase in call volume across Dane County. EMS call volume is expected to return to numbesr consistent with previous years.

Calls by day


While overall call volume is similar to previous years, decreases in certain emergencies are being offset by increases in others. Alcohol and substance abuse has seen one of the highest sustained increases in call volume when compared to previous years.

Daily Volume of Alcohol/Substance Abuse Calls


In addition to continued increases in alcohol and substance abuse emergencies, the following call types continue to increase in their share of overall EMS calls.

*The number of calls for Maltreatment/Abuse remains low compared to other emergencies, but has increased significantly compared to previous years.

Call types increases since 2019



Dane County Respiratory & Infectious Disease Calls
EMS agencies in Dane County have responded to 2,763 respiratory and infectious disease emergencies so far in 2020.

Cases are clustered mostly in the City of Madison where the population density is highest.

Location hotspots are being monitored to identify if any location in particular has an abnormally high share of incidents.

*Invalid location data is excluded

Number of daily respiratory and infectious disease calls since January, 2020

EMS crews are running an average of just over 16 respiratory and infectious disease calls each day in 2020. The daily average for 2018 and 2019 for these emergencies was 11 calls.

March of 2020 saw the highest volume of these call types. A second increase in call volume was seen at the end of May, and in recent weeks have declined. A significant portion of this decrease comes from a lower volume of EMS calls for respiratory and infectious disease within the City of Madison.


Graph showing average number of respiratory/infectious disease calls vs the daily number.



EMS crews are responding to fewer days with 20 or more repiratory/infectious disease calls. June has seen two trigger days as of 6/19/2020.


Number of daily respiratory/infectious disease calls for 2020



A majority of EMS calls for respiratory and infectious disease emergencies occur at the patient's residence.

In recent weeks, single family homes have moved into the most common incident location for respiratory and infectious disease emergencies.

  1. Single Family Homes
  2. Multi-Family Homes & Apartments
  3. Nursing Homes & Assisted Living Facilities
  4. Healthcare Facility
  5. Public Buildings & Areas



Data for “All EMS Calls in 2020” includes all EMS calls with an incident date between 01/01/2020 and 06/17/2020.  Data for “How do the first three months of 2020 compare to previous years?" includes all EMS calls with an incident date between 01/01/2020 and 06/17/2020.  Data for “Dane County Respiratory and Infectious Disease Calls” includes respiratory and infectious disease calls with an incident date between 01/01/2020 and 06/17/2020 (except historical comparisons) pulled from Dane Elite and the Wisconsin Ambulance Run Data System based on primary impression, signs and symptoms, and a custom-defined Dane Elite question for Dane County, Wisconsin. This data is NOT specific to COVID-19.  All data pulled 6/19/2020.