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.
“You never get that same, consistent story,” Shrum said, “but we are attempting to screen them there. When we get these cases, we will have one crew member enter the house. They will be screening the patient, asking questions, until the other one comes in. Once the other one comes in, we’re preparing to transport.”
They will then inform the hospital when they are bringing any patients, who have recently traveled “outside the geographical area,” who has been diagnosed with the virus, or someone hospitalized “with a respiratory illness and no clear diagnosis within the last couple of weeks.”
Also a 100.4 fever, even without travel, “is still a flag,” Shrum said.
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.
See complete story in the March 25 edition of the Herald.