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:
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.
- If the patient exhibits symptoms of an acute febrile** lower respiratory infection (fever, shortness of breath/difficulty breathing, cough):
- Place a surgical mask on the patient AND
- Obtain a detailed travel history to affected countries within the past 14 days or close contact with someone under investigation for 2019-nCoV
- 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.
- Notify the receiving hospital (according to local protocols) of potential infection as soon as possible to allow for emergency department preparation.
- Use caution with aerosol generating procedures
- Properly doff and dispose of PPE according to protocol.
- Cleaning and disinfection using EPA registered disinfectants with known effectiveness against human coronaviruses.
- Waste management per policy for medical waste (red bag).
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.