Chiefs Corner: Tahoe Basin EMS providers and area hospitals are prepared to manage COVID-19 patients
Your regional fire and paramedic services, local hospitals, and regional dispatch centers are prepared and taking additional measures to ensure our preparedness for managing potential COVID-19 patients.
The North Lake Tahoe Fire Protection District is working with Washoe County Health District and following the Interim Guidance for Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Systems as outlined by the Centers for Disease (CDC) to make sure our first responders are prepared to respond appropriately with regard to COVID-19.
Although there are currently no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Washoe County, this virus remains quite dynamic and information is being updated often so we are checking the CDC website regularly for the most up to date information on signs, symptoms and precautions.
Our fire district has supplemented our personal protective equipment (PPE) to assist our first responders with proper protection and all first responders are exercising appropriate precautions upon notification from dispatch, with any patients suspect of flu like symptoms.
There is currently no vaccine to prevent coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus. However, as a reminder, CDC always recommends everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases. Please visit the CDC Prevention & Treatment website for more information.
Placer, El Dorado Counties
North Tahoe Fire, Meeks Bay Fire, Squaw Valley Fire, Northstar Fire and Truckee Fire operate in collaboration with Renown and Tahoe Forest Hospitals to implement protocols as appropriate.
These agencies continuously prepare for highly hazardous scenarios, and train for incidents requiring isolation and/or containment. They stand equipped and capable for outbreaks such as COVID-19. Current precautions are similar to those practiced for other air-borne viruses and responders continually revisit those protocols.
Both El Dorado County EMS and Sierra Sacramento Valley EMS, our two Local Emergency Medical Services Authorities (LEMSA), provide guidance related to the spread of COVID-19.
Depending on the spread rate in the United States, responders are prepared for new dispatch protocols to be deployed, similar to those used during the 2019 H5N1 “Bird Flu” and the 2003 SARS epidemics.
It is important for the public to understand the effectiveness of everyday preventive actions they should adopt as standard behavior to prevent the spread of respiratory diseases like COVID-19 and Influenza.
Follow CDC Guidelines by avoiding close contact with sick people, avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth, practice frequent and effective handwashing, and stay home when you are sick.
Help raise awareness with vulnerable populations such as the elderly and those with compromised health conditions to understand how they can minimize their exposure.
Right now, more people have died from the flu this year than COVID-19, and if we all practice good cleaning and disinfecting habits, we can reduce exposure and prevent infection.
Source: North Lake Tahoe Fire District
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