JOPLIN, Mo. — Those who are first on the scene of a medical emergency are having to adjust their responses during the covid-19 pandemic.
EMTs with the Joplin METS say these changes start from the very second a patient calls 911.
Dispatchers are having to ask far more questions than usual, including if they have flu-like symptoms, if they’ve traveled, or if they’ve come into contact with a positive covid patient.
EMTs are always wearing masks now, and put a mask on every patient.
They will wear additional protection like goggles, gowns and gloves if the situations warrants it.
If a patient can walk, they’re asked to meet responders outside.
If they can’t, only one emt is sent inside the home to limit contact.
They also will not give any breathing treatments during transport unless absolutely necessary.
Scott Powell, METS Training Chief, said,”If we have a patient that has an aerosol procedure going in, and then we bring them into the hospital like that, that is putting their breath out into the open. And we don’t want to infect everybody that’s at the hospital.”
Once they arrive at a hospital, staff will meet them in the ambulance bay with a bed for the patient, so EMTs don’t have to enter the hospital.
Powell says some of their EMTs have been exposed to covid-19, and have had to be quarantined and monitored.
Luckily, none of them have tested positive.