March 11, 2020
The novel SARS-Co-2 virus and the COVID-19 illness it causes are rapidly sweeping around the globe. California and the Pacific West have been profoundly impacted by a significant number of cases. EMS has the potential to mitigate or accelerate the spread of the virus. Out-of-hospital providers sit at the front door of the healthcare system. They will be interacting with the sickest of COVID-19 patients, particularly those of at-risk populations like the elderly and persons with chronic, underlying diseases—both communities that utilize EMS with high frequency.
The success or failure of EMS with this novel coronavirus is contingent on a unified, informed, and diligent approach across the state. To that end, the California EMS Authority and its Director Dr. Dave Duncan recently launched the COVID-19 portal. This platform is a one-stop-shop for invaluable information for the state’s EMS practitioners.
The COVID-19 portal site provides unified information on areas familiar to EMS providers, such as appropriate PPE, patient assessment tools, and general infectious disease updates. However, the site also provides crucial information in newly evolving areas of operations, such as alternate destination strategies. These rapidly deploying strategies will be new to paramedics and EMTs, as these programs have only previously existed in regional pilot programs.
It will be increasingly important in the coming months for frontline providers to stay informed on both the state guidance and local operations. The California Paramedic Foundation encourages you to visit the site and review the materials currently available. We also encourage you to create a monthly reminder to check the portal for updated information and guidance.
The California Paramedic Foundation will continue to follow large statewide implementations and make EMS providers aware of new programming as it develops and takes effect.