February 7, 2020
With the recent news of the new coronavirus, it is important to remember that healthcare personnel and caregivers are equipped with the appropriate training, procedures and equipment to safely care for all patients while minimizing risk for the spread of infectious diseases. EMS clinicians including American Ambulance personnel are trained in the necessary safety measures to protect both patient and care provider from communicable diseases like the Novel Coronavirus. Through vaccination, proper personal protective equipment (PPE), annual TB testing, isolation protocols, CDC recommended disinfectant supplies and a number of other practices, we are continuing to take all precautionary measures to protect and up-hold the safety and health of our community.
2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) in the U.S.
Source: Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is closely monitoring an outbreak of respiratory illness caused by a novel (new) coronavirus first identified in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China. Chinese authorities identified the new coronavirus, which has resulted in thousands of confirmed cases in China, including cases outside Wuhan City. Additional cases have been identified in a growing number of other international locations, including the United States. There are ongoing investigations to learn more.A multi-agency Federal response is ongoing at this time to monitor the outbreak and implement preparedness and response activities. Among those agencies, the CDC is following and addressing the clinical aspects of this issue.
While the risk to the U.S. population is low, this is a serious and evolving situation. At this time, specific screening protocols for 911 or emergency medical dispatch are not required. If a caller volunteers information about travel to China within the past 2 weeks or close contact* potential exposure to a patient / person under investigation (PUI), that information should be relayed to responding field crews. Routine exposure control precautions will offer protection to first responders. EMS clinicians are advised to maintain a high index of suspicion in patients who present with fever and respiratory symptoms with a travel history to Wuhan, China. Routine exposure control precautions will offer protection to first responders.
Prevention and Treatment
There is currently no vaccine to prevent 2019-nCoV infection. The best way to prevent infection is to avoid being exposed to this virus. However, as a reminder, CDC always recommends everyday preventative actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses, including:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
- If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
To find the most up-to-date information, please refer to the https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/.
For local advisory and information from the Fresno County Public Health Office, please refer to https://www.co.fresno.ca.us/departments/public-health/emergency-medical-services/novel-coronavirus/.