EMS Considerations for Coronavirus

January 24, 2020

In an update on the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) outbreak in Wuhan, China, the NHTSA Office of Emergency Medical Services recommends EMS management and transport make the following considerations:

  1. If the patient exhibits symptoms of an acute febrile** lower respiratory infection (fever, shortness of breath/difficulty breathing, cough):
    1. Place a surgical mask on the patient AND
    2. Obtain a detailed travel history to affected countries within the past 14 days or close contact with someone under investigation for 2019-nCoV
  2. If there is a history consistent with concern for potential 2019-coronavirus (2019-nCoV), initiate standard contact and airborne precautions (gloves, gown,  N95 respirator) and eye protection (goggles) for EMS clinicians.
  3. Notify the receiving hospital (according to local protocols) of potential infection as soon as possible to allow for emergency department preparation.
  4. Use caution with aerosol generating procedures
  5. Properly doff and dispose of PPE according to protocol.
  6. Cleaning and disinfection using EPA registered disinfectants with known effectiveness against human coronaviruses.
  7. Waste management per policy for medical waste (red bag).
Continue to work with your agency infection control staff and local hospitals, emergency department and public health agencies to coordinate all response activities and notifications.

Check the CDC website for the latest updates.

**Fever may not be present in all patients; those who are immunocompromised, very young, elderly or taking fever-lowering medications.

Contact NAEMSP