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CDC Updates EMS Guidance for COVID-19 (novel Coronavirus)

cdc nCoVOn March 10, 2020, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) provided updated guidance for EMS agencies and Public Safety Answering Points (PSAPs) for COVID-19 in the United States. Major changes are outlined below, but please refer to the complete guidance document to assist with COVID-19 planning activities.

Recommendations for 911 PSAPs:

Municipalities and local EMS authorities should coordinate with state and local public health, PSAPs, and other emergency call centers to determine need for modified caller queries about COVID-19. Development of these modified caller queries should be closely coordinated with an EMS medical director and informed by local, state, and federal public health authorities, including the city or county health department(s), state health department(s), and CDC.

Summary of Key Changes for EMS Guidance:

  • Updated PPE recommendations for the care of patients with known or suspected COVID-19:
    • Facemasks are an acceptable alternative until the supply chain is restored. Respirators should be prioritized for procedures that are likely to generate respiratory aerosols, which would pose the highest exposure risk to HCP.
    • Eye protection, gown, and gloves continue to be recommended.
      • If there are shortages of gowns, they should be prioritized for aerosol-generating procedures, care activities where splashes and sprays are anticipated, and high-contact patient care activities that provide opportunities for transfer of pathogens to the hands and clothing of HCP.
    • When the supply chain is restored, fit-tested EMS clinicians should return to use of respirators for patients with known or suspected COVID-19.
  • Updated guidance about recommended EPA-registered disinfectants to include reference to a list now posted on the EPA website.
  • Refer to https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/hcp/guidance-for-ems.html for specific guidance for EMS agencies and PSAPS

Please refer to the following resources related to COVID-19 for the latest information and guidance:

Virginia Department of Health (VDH)

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

World Health Organization (WHO)

Ballad Health

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