How Should Emergency Medical Services Personnel Protect Themselves and the Patients During COVID-19 Pandemic?
Emergency medical services (EMS) play a vital role in the management of public health emergencies such as epidemics of infectious diseases. Unique challenges, however, are expected under these circumstances beyond what occurs during normal conditions. EMS personnel often have limited information about their patients, work under uncontrolled conditions, and accompany their patients in enclosed spaces of the ambulance. They are at particular risk of contracting the infectious agent unless standard and transmission-based precautions are implemented. Appropriate use of personal protective equipment (PPE) by responding personnel is, therefore, of paramount importance. Since the report of the first cases of COVID-19 in late December 2019, the disease has spread beyond China. As of March 29th, a total of 634,835 confirmed cases have been reported globally and 29,975 people have died. The Center for Diseases Control (CDC) and other authorities and advisory agencies have prepared guidelines regarding safety precautions for EMS personnel, including appropriate selection and use of PPE .
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3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Interim Guidance for Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Systems and 911 Public Safety Answering Points (PSAPs) for COVID-19 in the United States. 2020. [Available from: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/hcp/guidance-for-ems.html].
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