COVID-19 Town Hall: Navigating Current Recommendations and Practice in the COVID-19 Era

December 4, 2020

  • When EMS clinicians ask, “Are you getting the vaccine, Doc?” what they are really asking: “Is the vaccine safe?”  Knowing how mRNA vaccines are different from traditional vaccines, debunking myths, and providing guidance and reassurance on what to expect after receiving a vaccine will be an important role of the Medical Director.
  • Field practitioners will look to the Medical Director for guidance managing the constant change in COVID mitigation guidelines and risk assessment.  The CDC website can help separate fact from fiction when it comes to the latest “rumors.”
  • Pre-hospital steroid use in suspected COVID patients is probably not yet ready for prime time, and initial pre-hospital efforts should be at optimizing oxygenation and managing other immediate life threats.
  • Leaders should not assume that personnel are donning and doffing PPE appropriately.  Especially as PPE fatigue increases, care should be taken to provide refreshers and friendly reminders at regular intervals.
  • Proper PPE use, including while performing aerosol-generating procedures, remains a mainstay of defense even in a post-vaccine era for the foreseeable future.


NAEMSP President David K. Tan, MD, EMT-T, FAAEM, FAEMS


  • Alexander Isakov, MD, MPH, FAEMS – Alexander Isakov, MD, MPH, FAEMS, is a Professor of Emergency Medicine at Emory University School of Medicine. He is certified by the American Board of Emergency Medicine in both emergency medicine and emergency medical services (EMS). Dr. Isakov is the director of the Section of Prehospital and Disaster Medicine whose faculty provides medical oversight for 911 communications centers, and ground and air EMS responders in metropolitan Atlanta. He is also the executive director of the Emory Office of Critical Event Preparedness and Response (CEPAR), which serves as the center for Emory enterprise-wide planning for and coordinated response to catastrophic events. Dr. Isakov has provided leadership in emergency medical services and disaster preparedness locally and nationally. He serves as the medical director for the Sandy Springs Fire Department and Air Life Georgia. He is the founding medical director for the Emory-Grady EMS Biosafety Transport Program. He is the EMS lead for the National Emerging Special Pathogens Training and Education Center (NETEC) and is a designated Subject Matter Expert for the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response, Technical Resources, Assistance Center, and Information Exchange (ASPR TRACIE). Dr. Isakov is also on the American College of Emergency Physicians Epidemic Expert Panel and is a member of the EMS sub-board for the American Board of Emergency Medicine. He previously served on the National Association of EMS Physicians board of directors and the Technical Expert Panel for NHTSA’s EMS Agenda 2050.
  • Jon R. Krohmer, MD, FACEP, FAEMS – Jon R. Krohmer, M.D., FACEP, FAEMS is the Director of the NHTSA Office of EMS in the Department of Transportation. He also served as the NHTSA Acting Associate Administrator for Research and Program Development from October 2018 to January 2020. Prior to NHTSA, he was the Assistant Director of the ICE Health Service Corps at the Department of Homeland Security. Previously, he was the principal deputy assistant secretary for DHS Office of Health Affairs and DHS deputy chief medical officer. He began serving in that position as a member of the Senior Executive Service (SES) with DHS in September 2006 and served as the acting assistant secretary for health affairs and chief medical officer from August 2008 to August 2009. Dr. Krohmer was an attending physician and director of emergency medical services (EMS), emergency medicine residency and Department of Emergency Medicine at the Spectrum Health Butterworth Campus in Grand Rapids, MI, associate professor of emergency medicine at the College of Human Medicine at Michigan State University and EMS medical director of Kent County Emergency Medical Services and was the medical director for the West Michigan Metropolitan Medical Response System. Dr. Krohmer received his undergraduate degree at Ferris State College, School of Pharmacy in Big Rapids, Mich., and is a graduate of the University of Michigan Medical School in Ann Arbor, Mich. He completed his emergency medicine residency and EMS Fellowship at Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio. He is board certified in emergency medicine and emergency medical services.
  • Stephen Y. Liang, MD, MPHS, FACEP – Stephen Y. Liang, MD, MPHS, FACEP, is an Associate Professor of Medicine at Washington University School of Medicine in the Department of Emergency Medicine and Division of Infectious Diseases, Department of Medicine. Dr. Liang works as an emergency physician and infectious disease specialist at Barnes-Jewish Hospital and is interested in infection prevention and infectious disease challenges in emergency care settings, including emergency medical services.  He is the primary consultant to the High Consequence Pathogen transport program for AMR in St. Louis and has deployed numerous times with the federal Urban Search & Rescue system as a Medical Team Manager with Missouri Taskforce-1.
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