CDC Releases PSAP Guidance on Coronavirus, Kirkland First Responders Quarantined
Wednesday, March 04, 2020 | Comments

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) released revised guidance detailing recommendations for public-safety agencies as they respond to potential coronavirus patients. The document includes detailed recommendations for processing 9-1-1 calls, as well as instructions for responding EMS personnel.

The guidance applies to all first responders, including law enforcement, fire services, EMS and emergency management officials who anticipate close contact with persons with confirmed or possible COVID-19 in the course of their work.

The guidance includes modified caller queries about COVID-19 for PSAPS that include questioning callers and determining the possibility that a call concerns a person who may have signs or symptoms and risk factors for COVID-19. The query process should never supersede the provision of pre-arrival instructions to the caller when immediate life-saving interventions are indicated. Patients in the United States who meet the appropriate criteria should be evaluated and transported as a person under investigation (PUI).

Information on a possible PUI should be communicated immediately to EMS clinicians before arrival on scene to allow use of appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE). PSAPs should use medical dispatch procedures that are coordinated with their EMS medical director and with the local or state public health department.

PSAPs and EMS units that respond to ill travelers at U.S. international airports or other ports of entry to the United States (maritime ports or border crossings) should be in contact with the CDC quarantine station of jurisdiction for the port of entry for planning guidance. They should notify the quarantine station when responding to that location if a communicable disease is suspected in a traveler.

The full guidance is here.

Kirkland, Washington, has 26 firefighters and three police officers in quarantine. One firefighter was released March 2 after completing the recommended quarantine period. All twenty-nine are linked to responses to incidents at the Life Center of Kirkland. Twelve first responders are showing flu-like symptoms, and 19 have confirmed direct exposure. Most are in isolation or quarantine at home.

The Kirkland Fire and Police Departments remain fully staffed and are responding to calls as normal. City first responders have CDC recommended personal protection equipment and are following recommended protocols, a statement said.

“Our No. 1 priority is ensuring the safety of our community and first responders,” said Chief Joe Sanford. “I’m so proud of our first responders who have stepped up to make sure that our community is still receiving the highest level of service.”

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