Ste. Genevieve County Ambulance District executive director Kendall Shrum last week reviewed with the board contingency plans that could be put in place if the COVID-19 coronavirus hits the community.
Knowing if they are being called to pick up potential COVID-19 patients is critical for the district employees.
“Obviously, 911 is triaging our calls to the best of their ability,” Shrum said during last Thursday’s board meeting. “Anyone who calls in with a fever, just general sickness, they are trying to screen them for us.”
He said that while a patient may not mention anything that would trigger COVID-19 alarms over the phone, “more times than not,” they remember symptoms or activities that would be red flags once the ambulance arrives or once they get to the hospital. …
He said the district has authorization to take potential COVID-19 patients to an off-site location instead of a hospital, if the hospital requests such.
“As long as it’s a facility owned by the hospital and associated with the ER [emergency room] we’re transporting to,” Shrum said.
Shrum said N-95 masks, eye protection and gowns should be arriving any day.
Shrum also said that in such a scenario, first responders would not be used unless an absolute life or death situation comes up.
“We do not want to expose them to unnecessary risk,” he said. “I know a lot of this sounds extreme, but we have to get ahead of this and get in the practice before it hits our community. It’s kind of an unprecedented time. I don’t think we’ve ever experienced anything like this that anyone in this room has lived through.”
See complete story in the March 25 edition of the Herald.