County fire and EMS agencies have been educated by local and state medical direction on a new protocol used to self-quarantine patients at home with symptoms consistent with the COVID-19 virus, according to emergency services officials.
“The Viral Syndrome Pandemic Triage protocol will be used in situations where the patient wants to be evaluated by EMS; meets certain criteria to stay at home, in self-quarantine and will be contacted by an Allegany County EMS Operation staff member the following day,” Allegany County Department of Emergency Services Chief Christopher Biggs said. “The intent of this protocol is to allow mild to moderately sick patients with no life-threatening conditions to stay at home, in self-quarantine to rest and recover.”
The Maryland State Institute for Emergency Medical Services Systems has implemented similar protocols Garrett County.
“We want to emphasize that if you want to be transported to the hospital, the EMS unit dispatched will still do that,” Emergency Services Director James Pyles said. “Implementation of this protocol will allow pre-hospital clinicians to screen the patients and assist them in making an informed decision whether to be transported or stay at home to rest and recover. These patients should follow-up with their primary healthcare provider.”
Pyles and Biggs said that this is just one of several changes that have occurred since this pandemic began. Dispatch questioning, unit staffing, first responder dispatching, and crews self-monitoring are just a few other policy and procedure changes for county fire and EMS personnel.
“We continue to work with MIEMSS and MEMA on a daily basis for the latest updates,” Pyles said. “We make changes as directed by these agencies and local medical direction.”
Pyles continued that the Allegany County Health Department has been releasing testing results on Monday, Wednesday and Friday to the public via their website and social media.
“When there is a confirmed case of COVID-19 the public will be notified,” Pyles said. “We have fortunately been spared for the time being. Our resources are mobilized and ready to respond.”